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a3a5— >54 








Translated and selected by 
H. of. R. GIBB 

Lecturer in Arahky School of Oriental Studies^ University of London 

With an Introduction and J^tos 

Published by 


First published m 19Z9 
Reprinted 1939 

Made and Printed in Great Britain by 

12 Bedford Square^ London, W.C.i 
and at Bradford 


Introduction - - . _ i 


- 43 

- 78 

- 106 

- 123 

- 167 

BOOK 11 

Chapter VI - - - 183 

Chapter VII - - - - 214 

Chapter VIII - - - - 241 

Chapter IX - - - - 261 

Chapter X _ - . . 272 

Chapter XI - _ . . 282 

Chapter XII - - - - 301 

Chapter XIII - - - - 311 

Chapter XIV - - - - 317 

Notes _ - _ _ _ ^41 

Index of Geographical Names - "385 

Index of Personal Names, etc. - - 395 

Chapter I 
Chapter II 
Chapter III 
Chapter IV 
Chapter V 



Indian Harem Scene - - Fromtipicce 


A Group of DarwIshes Dancing - - 50 

Map of Persia - - - - 84 

Map of Anatolia - - - - 122 

Map of India - - - - 184 

Pilgrims Climbing to Adam’s Foot (Valen- 
tyn: Oud en Ntevw OoB-Indietty 17 "4) " " 5 ^ 

Canton in the Seventeenth Century (Niev- 
hoff: U Ambassade de La Compagnie Orien - 
taky 1665) - - - - 288 

Map of West Africa - - - 310 


Selections from the Travels of 
Ibn Battuta 



To the world of today the men of medieval Chriilen- 
dom already seem remote and unfamiliar. Their 
names and deeds are recorded in our history-books, 
their monuments Still adorn our cities, but our kin- 
ship with them is a thing unreal, which coSts an effort 
of the imagination. How much more muSt this 
apply to the great Islamic civilization, that Stood over 
againSt medieval Europe, menacing its existence and 
yet linked to it by a hundred ties that even war and fear 
could not sever. Its monuments too abide, for those 
who may have the fortune to visit them, but its men 
and manners are to moSt of us utterly unknown, or 
dimly conceived in the romantic image of the Arabian 
Nights. Even for the specialist it is difficult to re- 
construct their lives and see them as they were. 
Histories and biographies there are in quantity, but 
the historians, for all their picturesque details, seldom 
show the ability to seleCt the essential and to give 
their figures that touch of the intimate which makes 
them live again for the reader. It is in this faculty 
that Ibn Battdta excels. Of the multitudes that crowd 
upon the Stage in the pageant of medieval Islam there 
is no figure more inStinA with life than his. In his 
book he not only lays before us a faithful portrait of 
himself, with all his virtues and his failings, but evokes 



a whole age as it were from the dead. These travels 
have been ransacked by hi^orians and geographers, 
but no estimate of his work is even faintly satisfaftory 
which does not bear in mind that it is fir^ and fore- 
most a human diary, in which the tale of fadls is sub- 
ordinated to the interests and preoccupations of the 
diarist and his audience. It is impossible not to feel 
a liking for the charafter it reveals to us, generous 
to excess, humane in an age when life was its at 
cheapest, bold (did ever medieval traveller fear the 
sea less ?), fond of pleasure and uxorious to a degree, 
but controlled withal by a deep vein of piety and 
devotion, a man with all the makings of a sinner, and 
something of a saint. 

Of the external events of Ibn Battiita’s life we know 
little beyond what he himself tells us. The editor 
of the travels, Ibn Juzayy, notes that he was born 
at Tangier on 24th February, 1 304, and from a brief 
reference in a later book of biographies we know 
that after his return to Morocco he was appointed 
q 4 di or judge in one of the Moroccan towns, and died 
there in 1368 or 1369. His own name was Muham- 
mad son of Abdalldh, Ibn Battiita being the family 
name. Still to be found in Morocco. His family had 
apparently been settled in Tangier for some genera- 
tions and belonged to the Berber tribe of the Luwita, 
which firSl appears in hiStory as a nomadic tribe in 
Cyrenaica and on the borders of Egypt. For the reSl 
he divulges incidentally in a passage relating to his 
appointment as qidi iri Delhi, that he came of a house 
which had produced a succession of qidis, and later 
on he mentions a cousin who was qidi of Rondah 
in Spain. He belonged, in consequence, to the re- 
ligious upper-class, if the term may be used, of the 
Muhammadan community, and muSl have received 
the usual literary and scholaStic education of the 
theologians. On one occasion he quotes a poem of 



his own composition, but the other verses quoted here 
and there obviously bear a more popular charafter 
than the elaborate produftions of the beft Arabic 
poetic schools. His professional interest in men and 
matters religious may be seen on nearly every page of 
his work. It is evident from the liil of qddls and other 
theologians whom he saw in every town on his travels 
(sometimes to the exclusion of all other details), but 
above all from his eagerness to visit famous shaykhs and 
saints wherever he went, and the enthusiasm with 
which he relates instances of their miraculous gifts. 

But to rate him, as some European scholars have 
done, for his “ rigmaroles about Muhammadan saints 
and spiritualifts ” and for his “ stupidity ” in paying 
more attention to theologians than to details of the 
places he visited, is singularly out of place. Such 
religious details were matters in which he and his 
audience were moil closely intereiled, and are by no 
means devoid of intereil and value even to us. Out 
of them, moreover, spring some of the moil lively 
passages of his narrative, such as his escape at Koel 
(the modern Aligarh), and his account of the Sharif 
Abii Ghurra. But it is of far greater importance to 
remember that it was because he was a theologian 
and because of his intereil in theologians that he 
undertook his travels at all and survived to complete 
them. When as a young man of twenty-one he set 
out from his native town with a light heart, and not 
much heavier purse, it was with no other aim than 
that of making the pilgrimage to Mecca and the holy 
places of his faith. The duty laid upon every Muslim 
of visiting Mecca at leail once in his lifetime, so long 
as it lies within his power to do so, has been in all 
ages a ^imulus to travel, far greater in degree than 
the ilimulus of Chriilian pilgrimage in the Middle 
Ages. At the same time, it created the organization 
necessary to enable Muslims of every class from every 



country to carry out this obligation. The pilgrim on 
his journey travelled in a caravan whose numbers 
swelled at every ^age. He found all arrangements 
made for his marches and his halts, and if the road 
lay through dangerous country, his caravan was pro- 
tedled by an escort of soldiers. In all large centres 
as well as many intermediate Nations were re^t houses 
and hospices where he was hospitably welcomed and 
entertained out of endowments created by generations 
of benefaflors. When such was the lot of every 
pilgrim, the theologian received ^lill greater considera- 
tion. His brethren in every town received him as 
one of themselves, furnished his wants, and recom- 
mended him to those at the next Nation. Under 
these circumftances the brotherhood of IsMm, which 
knows no difference of race or birth, showed at its 
be^, and provided an incentive to travel unknown in 
any other age or community. 

Nor was the Pilgrimage the only institution which 
smoothed the traveller’s path. Throughout the Middle 
Ages the trade routes of Africa and Asia and the 
sea-borne trade of the Indian Ocean were almoSt 
exclusively in the hands of the Muslim merchants. 
The travels of Ibn Battdta are but one of many sources 
which reveal how widespread were their aftivities. 
Though their caravans were exposed to greater dangers 
in times of lawlessness and disorganization than were 
the pilgrim caravans, they offered at leaSl a measure 
of security to the casual traveller. It is evident from 
our narratives that in the great majority of cases they 
were animated by the same spirit of kindliness and 
generosity that has always marked the mutual relations 
of Muslims, and readily shared their resources with 
their fellow-travellers in case of need. Later on 
IlDn Battdta had more than once occasion to appre- 
ciate their services, but at the outset he had no thought 
of what the future held for him. 



On his arrival in Egypt, with his mind ^lill wholly 
set on Mecca, he received the firil premonitions of 
his future from two of the illuminati, or saints who had 
attained a high rank in the hierarchy of the Muslim 
orders. From this point we see his vague desires 
gradually crystallize into a definite ambition, though 
he Still hesitates from time to time, especially when 
his contadts with persons of saintly life awaken all his 
inStindts of devotion. Foiled in his firSl intention 
of taking the diredt route to Mecca through Upper 
Egypt (the usual route of the pilgrim caravans from 
the WeSl), he determined to join inStead the pilgrim 
caravan from Damascus, and on his way thither tailed 
for the firSl time the joys of travel for its own sake. 
As time was not pressing, he wandered at leisure 
through the whole of Syria as far as the borders of 
Asia Minor, before returning to Damascus to join the 
caravan as it set out for the Holy Cities. 

Hardly was this firil Pilgrimage over than he set 
out again to visit ‘Irdq, but turned back sharply before 
reaching Baghdad, and made a long detour through 
Khuziildn. By now, he tells us, he had taken the 
resolve never to cover the same ground twice, as far 
as possible. His mind was ilill set on the Pilgrimage, 
however, and he planned his journey to cover the 
interval before returning to Mecca at the end of the 
year. This time he renounced further travelling for 
a space of three years and gave himself up to ftudy 
and devotion at Mecca. For the theologian the Pil- 
grimage meant not only the performance of one of 
the principal obligations of the Faith, but an oppor- 
tunity of putting himself in touch with the adlivities 
of the religious centre of Islam. Mecca was the ideal 
centre of religious ^ludy, in the company of many of 
the moil eminent dodlors of the day. All this, no 
doubt, was in Ibn Battiita’a mind. But we may, I 
think, discern a further purpose. He had already 



made up his mind to seek his fortune in India, to 
which the boundless munificence of the reigning 
Sultan of Delhi was then attrafting large numbers of 
scholars and theologians from other countries. The 
years spent at Mecca would confer on him a better 
flatus, and render him eligible for a higher poft than 
he could otherwise hope for. 

On completing his years of ftudy he made a tour 
with a retinue of followers to the trading stations on 
the eaft coa^l of Africa, returning as before to Mecca, 
then turned his back on the Holy City and set out 
for India. But the journey was to be longer and more 
adventurous than he anticipated. At- Jedda there 
was no ship to be had bound for India, whereupon 
moved by some obscure impulse he turned northwards 
instead and began his great tour. As we follow him 
through the cities of Asia Minor, where he received 
an enthusia^ic welcome from the local religious 
brotherhoods, across the Black Sea to the territories 
of the Mongol Khin of the Golden Horde, and after 
taking advantage of an opportunity to visit Con- 
^antinople, striking across the steppes to Central Asia 
and Khurdsin, we find him becoming an increasingly 
important personage, attended by a swelling throng 
of followers, and becoming possessed of such means 
that he “ dare not mention the number of his horses 
in case some sceptic should accuse him of lying.” 

So at lail he entered India by the north-weftern 
gateway, being received with honour and escorted to 
Delhi, where, though he obtained a full share of the 
Sultan’s bounty and was appointed to a rich sinecure 
as Milikite qddi of Delhi, he was but one figure, and 
in no way specially remarkable among many. For 
seven years or so Ibn Battdta remained in this position, 
sometimes accompanying the Sultan on his expeditions, 
sometiines engaged in his occupations at Delhi, ^l:oring 
up in his memory all the while those acute observa- 



tions which he afterwards wove into one of the moft 
remarkable descriptions we possess of any medieval 
Muslim court. Little did Sultan or courtiers think 
that six centuries afterwards their reputations would 
depend on the notes and reminiscences of the obscure 
and spendthrift qddi from the Wc^. At laft the 
inevitable rupture occurred, whose consequences were 
usually swift and fatal to the viftim of the royal dis- 
pleasure. Ibn Battiita took refuge in his laft resort, 
the adoption of the ascetic life, resigning all his offices 
and giving away all his possessions. It was a genuine 
aft of world-renun caition, such as always lay near to 
the heart of the medieval theologian, and seems to have 
convinced Sultan Muhammad of the traveller’s real 
integrity and devotion. At all events, when he re- 
quired shortly afterwards a truftworthy person to send 
as his envoy to China, it was Ibn Battdta whom he 
summoned. Ibn Battiita, for his part, it would seem, 
was reluftant to doff his hermit’s garments and 
“ become entangled in the world again.” But the 
bribe was too great, and in 1342 he set off in semi- 
regal ftate at the head of the mission to the moft 
powerful ruler in the world of his time, the Mongol 
Emperor of China. 

Scarcely had he left the walls of Delhi when his 
adventures began. For eight days he was a hunted 
fugitive, and though he escaped to rejoin his embassy 
in its progress through India, it was only to be left 
with nothing but the clothes he ftood up in and his 
prayer-mat on the shore at Calicut. To go on with 
his mission in the circumftances was impossible; 
to return to Dehli was to incur the wrath of Sultan 
Muhammad. He chose inftead to indulge his love 
of adventure with the independent rulers of the Malabar 
coaft, and eventually found himself at the Maidive 
Islands, once again a qidi and a personage of im- 
portance. Here too after eighteen months of lotos- 



eating his reforming zeal made of him an objeft of 
suspicion and dislike, and he found it expedient to 
leave the islands. The devotee in him again asserted 
itself, and his fir^l objeft was to make a pilgrimage to 
the “ Foot of Adam ” on the highest peak of Ceylon. 
This done he returned to the Coromandel and Malabar 
coa^s, paid another brief visit to the Maidive Islands 
and prepared in earned for his journey to China. 
Some months had ftill to elapse before the sailing 
season, however, and he chose to spend them in a 
voyage to Bengal, for no other reason, apparently, 
than to visit a famous shaykh living in Assam. He 
then intercepted the “ Chinese ” vessels — ^really vessels 
owned by Muhammadan merchants, with Chinese and 
Malay crews — at Sumatra and went by a route that 
has taxed the ingenuity of his commentators to the 
“ Shanghai ” of China in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, the port of Ts’wan-chow-fu, or Zaytiin, as 
it was known to the foreign merchants. For this 
journey Ibn Battdta reassumed his role of ambassador, 
though it may strike us as curious that no one seemed 
to entertain any suspicions of an ambassador who 
travelled without embassy or credentials. It was, 
however, his only device for making his way through 
China, though his theological reputation ^ood him in 
good Ilead among^ his fellow-Muslims in the trading 
ports. In every city on his progress to and from 
Peking he was received with full honours, but at 
Peking itself he was disappointed of seeing the Em- 
peror, owing to his absence from the capital. 

Returning to Zaytdn, he took ship again for Sumatra, 
and thence for Malabar, but decided not to expose 
himself a second time to the treacherous splendours 
of Delhi, and made westwards inflead. He was in 
Syria at the outbreak of the firft “ Black Death ” in 
1348, and in a few terse sentences reveals its frightful 
ravages. At this time he seems to have had no defi- 



nite plans for the future, and was aiming only at com- 
pleting yet another Pilgrimage, his seventh, to Mecca. 
What eventually led him to return to his native land 
is not clear. His own narrative places more weight 
on the rapid access of strength and prosperity which 
Morocco enjoyed under Sultan Abu’l-Hasan and his 
son Abd Tndn, than on those ties of family and 
kindred which appear to us so much more natural 
a reason. Possibly allowances should be made for 
the part of exaggeration and flattery, but the brevity 
of his dlay in Tangier, and the unemotional, almo^ 
brusque, manner in which he mentions it, scarcely 
witness to an overmastering homesickness, which, in 
any case, was hardly to be expedted in a society so 
cosmopolitan as that of medieval Islam. 

The journey from Alexandria to the Barbary coaSl 
was not without its alarms. Twice Ibn Battiita 
narrowly escaped capture by ChriSlian corsairs, and 
in addition his party was threatened by a robber band 
almost within sight of Fez. Even yet his ambition 
was not appeased. There were Still two Muslim 
countries which he had not visited — ^Andalusia and the 
Negrolands on the Niger. Once again he took up 
the Staff of travel, not to lay it down again until some 
three years later he could claim with juSlice the title 
of “ The Traveller of Islam.” He was in fadl the only 
medieval traveller who is known to have visited the 
lands of every Muhammadan ruler of his time, quite 
apart from such infidel countries as Constantinople, 
Ceylon, and China, which were embraced in his 
journeys. The mere extent of his wanderings is 
estimated by Yule at not less than 75,000 miles, 
without allowing for deviations, a figure which is not 
likely to have been surpassed before the age of Steam. 

Unfortunately no account of Ibn Battiita has come 
down to us ^so far as is known) from anyone who saw 
him on his journeys. There appear to be only two 



known references to him in the writings of contempo- 
raries, and both are concerned chiefly with the credi- 
bility of his ifories, which was hotly disputed. What 
they thought of him personally we are not told, but 
are able to infer occasionally from his own candid 
^atements. Twice we find him, after receiving 
a cordial welcome, becoming an objeft of dislike or 
suspicion, at Delhi and again in the Maidive Islands, 
In the firft case the cause was his extravagance, in the 
second it was fear of his growing influence and resent- 
ment at his haughty independence. There can be 
no que^ion that he expefted of princes and ministers 
a lavish exercise of the virtue of generosity, which was 
indeed in his eyes — as in those of his age and com- 
munity generally — their principal claim to respeft. 
It may be taken as a general rule that when Ibn Battdta 
says of this or the other prince that he is “ a good 
sultan ” or “ one of the be^t of rulers,” he means only 
that he is scrupulous in the performance of his religious 
duties and openhanded in his dealings, especially with 
theologians. We can well underhand that this 
attitude was apt to pall on his patrons and lead at 
length to unpleasant incidents, or at least mutual 
dislike. Apart from these rare cases, however, he 
appears to nave been liked and respefted wherever he 

In attempting to estimate the value of Ibn Battijta’s 
work, some description muft be given of the book 
itself. Ibn Battdta may have taken notes of the 
places that he visited, but the evidence is rather again^ 
it. Only once does he refer to notes, when he says 
that at Bukhara he copied a number of epitaphs from 
the tombs of famous scholars, but afterwards lo^ 
them when the Indian pirates Gripped him of all that 
he had. These epitaphs were of special intere^l to 
of letters and theologians because they con- 
tained lifts of the writings of the deceased. Ibn 



BattiSta was not himself a man of letters who was likely 
to regard his experiences as material for a book; on 
the contrary, he seems to have entertained no idea of 
writing them down. 

On his return to Fez he had related his adventures 
to the sultan and the court, where they were received 
with general incredulity, as we know from a passage 
in the works of his great contemporary, the hi^orian 
Ibn Khalddn. He found, however, a powerful sup- 
porter in the wazir, at whose inftigation possibly 
the sultan gave in^lruftions to one of the principal 
secretaries, Muhammad ibn Juzayy, to commit them 
to writing. Ibn Juzayy accordingly compiled the 
work which we possess at the diftation of Ibn Battdta. 
The result is a book of somewhat composite charafter. 
The writer was not always content to take down Ibn 
Battdta’s narratives as they were delivered. He shows 
commendable care in registering the exaft pronuncia- 
tion of every foreign name (a matter of some importance 
in view of the nature of the Arabic script), but in some 
other respefts his editing is open to criticism. By 
his own Statement the work is an abridgment, which 
possibly accounts for the brevity of one or two of the 
later sections. The bulk of the narrative has been 
left with but little touching-up in the simple. Straight- 
forward Style of the narrator, but at points Ibn Juzajry 
has embellished it in the taSte of the age, with passages 
of rhetorical prose and extracts from poems, which 
seldom add much of interest. His interpolation of 
incidents from his own experience may be excused, 
but another of his proceedings is more questionable. 
He had before him the narrative of the travels of 
Ibn Jubayr, an Andalusian scholar who visited Egypt, 
the Hijiz, and Syria in the twelfth century, and wrote 
an account of his experiences which enjoyed a great 
reputation in the WeSt. Where Ibn Battiita covers 
the same ground, Ibn Juzayy has often substituted 



(possibly at Ibn Battiita’s desire or with his per- 
mission) an abridgment of Ibn Jubayr’s work, notably 
in the account of the ceremonies observed at Mecca 
during the Pilgrimage and at other seasons of the year. 
We have consequently to bear in mind that the book 
is not entirely Ibn Battdta’s work; there are indeed 
indications (for example, in the transcriptions and 
translations of Persian phrases) that the reputed author 
did not himself read the book at all, or if he did, read 
it negligently. 

Taking the work, then, as a whole, we muil regard 
it as primarily intended to present a descriptive account 
of Muhammadan society in the second quarter of the 
fourteenth century. Ibn Battdta’s interest in places 
was, as we have seen, subordinate to his interest in 
persons. He is the supreme example of le geographe 
mal^i lui, whose geographical knowledge was gained 
entirely from personal experience and the information 
of chance acquaintances. For his details he relied 
exclusively on his memory, a memory, it is true, which 
had been highly cultivated by the ordinary sy^em of 
theological education, involving the memorizing of 
large numbers of works, but ilill liable to slips and 
confusions, more or less great. In his itineraries he 
sometimes misplaces the order of towns, and twice at 
lea^l leaves himself in the air, as it were, with a gap 
of hundreds of miles. He gives wrong names at 
several points, especially when he is dealing with 
non-Muslim countries, where his knowledge of Arabic 
and Persian was of little service to him. In his histori- 
cal narratives, which are generally trustworthy, similar 
mistakes are found. It is indeed remarkable that the 
errors are comparatively few, considering the enormous 
number of persons and places he mentions. The moSt 
serious difficulty is offered by the chronology of the 
travels, which is utterly impossible as it Stands. Many 
of the dates give the impression of having been inserted 



more or less at haphazard, possibly at the editor’s 
requeft, but the examination and corredlion of them 
offers a task so great that it has not been attempted in 
this selection. 

There is finally the question of his veracity. There 
can be no doubt that in his narratives of the Muslim 
countries, notwithstanding errors of exaggeration and 
misunderstanding, Ibn Battdta faithfully relates what 
he believes to be true. Some critics have, however, 
regarded his claim to have visited Constantinople and 
China with considerable dubiety. The principal diffi- 
culties as regards the visit to Constantinople are the 
vagueness of his route and his claim to have met the 
ex-Emperor, when by his own chronology the ex- 
Emperor had been dead for over a year. The firSt 
can be explained by the difficulties of an Arabic- 
speaking traveller in such unfamiliar surroundings, 
the second by an error in dating. The account of the 
city itself is so full and accurate that it cannot be other 
than the narrative of an eye-witness, who enjoyed 
exceptional facilities such as Ibn Battdta had, and his 
interview with the ex-Emperor in particular bears 
the unmistakable Stamp of truth. 

The difficulties contained in the narrative of the 
journeys to and in China are generally of the same order, 
and will be more fully considered in their place. It 
need only be said here that to deny them raises even 
greater difficulties, and that by exactly the same kind 
of reasoning it can be “ proved ” that though Ibn 
Battiita undoubtedly was in India he never went 
there! Ibn Battiita is always unsatisfadfory when he 
relies on second-hand information, and it is moSl 
unlikely that he could have put together so personal 
a narrative had the Statements of others not been 
supplemented by his own observations. There are 
also some material arguments in favour of his claim to 
have visited China. He had, in his capacity as envoy 



from the Sultan of Delhi, very good reason for going 
there, and facilities for travel in China which were 
denied to the ordinary merchant. In the second place 
one obscure passage in the narrative of his doings 
at Khansa (Hang-chow) is cleared up by an earlier 
passage relating to his visit to Shaykh Jaldl ad-Din in 
Assam, with which the journey to China is closely 
connefted. Thirdly, if his claim were false, he ^lood 
a reasonable chance of being exposed. He relates 
with some emphasis that in his journey through 
Northern China he met a merchant from Ceuta, the 
brother of a man living in Sijilmasa, in Morocco, whom 
he subsequently met also. That this merchant should 
have had some communication with Morocco, even in 
those days, is not impossible, since Ibn Battiita himself 
had once transmitted a sum of money from India to 
Mequinez. On the whole, therefore, the narrative 
dealing with China seems to me to be genuine, though 
it is certainly related with greater brevity than usual, 
either because Ibn Battiita could not recall the Chinese 
names, if he learned them, with the same ease as the 
more familiar Arabic and Persian names, or because it 
was more drastically abridged by the editor. I can in 
faft see no alternative, except to suppose that he was 
hypnotized into the belief that he had gone there by 
one of the miracle-working saints whom he met in 

Ibn Battiita was firSl brought into prominence by 
the translation of an abridged text by Dr. Samuel Lee 
in 1829. The complete text of the Travels, which 
was found in Algeria a few years later, was published 
with a French translation and critical apparatus by 
Defrdmery and San^inetti in the middle of the 
centuiy from a number of manuscripts, one of which, 
containing the second half of the work, is the autograph 
of the original editor, Ibn Juzayy. The French 
translation, though on the whole remarkably accurate, 



suffers from the absence of explanatory notes. Various 
sections of the book (chiefly from the French text) 
have been annotated by scholars familiar with the 
countries themselves, but a large amount ^lill remains 
to be worked over. In the present seleftions, which 
have been translated afresh from the Arabic text, 
Ibn Battdta is treated as a traveller, and not as a writer 
of geography. Sufficient indications have, it is hoped, 
been added in the text and the notes to enable the 
course of his journeys to be followed in detail on any 
large-scale atlas, but many problems of geography 
have been passed over in silence. The easy collo- 
quialism of his ^yle has been retained in translation 
as far as possible, in preference to a lilted Elizabethan 
language. It has not been easy to make a seleftion 
from the wealth of narrative and anecdote contained 
in the work, and many interesting seftions have neces- 
sarily been omitted or abridged. But until the appear- 
ance of a complete version (such as the writer is now 
preparing for the Hakluyt Society) it is hoped that 
this extraft may be of service in introducing to a wider 
circle of English readers one of the moSt remarkable 
travellers of his own or any age. 



The Islamic world in the fourteenth century differed, 
in extent and outward splendour, but little from the 
magnificent empire ruled by the Caliphs of Damascus 
and Baghdad in the eighth. If in the WeSt it had 
been shorn of its outpo^s in Spain and Sicily, it could 
juSWy claim to have more than balanced the loss by its 
extension in India and Malaysia. It had recently 
wiped out the laft traces of the humiliation inflifted 
upon it by the crusading Franks, and was on the 
point of exafting a signal vengeance by the sword of 



the Ottomans in Europe. Yet it was true, notwith- 
standing all these apparent signs of progress, that the 
political fabric of Islam was Stricken with mortal 
disease. The centuries had taken a heavy toll of 
vitality from that huge frame, and had left it Still 
formidable, it may be, but wounded at the heart. 

The laSt Crusader had indeed been driven from the 
shores of Syria, but at what a coSt! Two centuries 
of Struggle and intrigue had been necessary to repel 
attacks that the warriors of the early generations had 
regarded as the minor incidents of outpoSt warfare. 
The sceptre had passed from the hands of the supple 
Arab and the cultured Persian to those of the violent 
and illiberal Turk. For more than two centuries 
after the year looo the ambitions of Turkish generals 
and chieftains had torn and retorn the body of Islim, 
devastating its lands by their misgovernment and 
continual warfare more effeftivcly than any foreign 
foe. Convulsion succeeded to convulsion, until at 
length the heathen Mongols from Central Asia made 
hares of the Turkish lions, and in 1258 formed the 
derelidt eaSlern lands of Islam into a province of their 
immense empire. 

This event, the shock of which seemed to the 
Muslim peoples like the LaSl Judgment of the Wrath 
of God, proved in the end a blessing in disguise. Once 
again the eaSlern provinces enjoyed a period of firm 
and relatively undisturbed government, under which 
commerce and agriculture took heart and began to 
re-create a prosperity that seemed to have vanished 
for ever. Simultaneously Egypt and Syria, which 
had withstood the Mongol onset, enjoyed under a 
succession of capable rulers a rare period of peace and 
prosperity. The Turkish captains who had hitherto 
quarrelled over the mangled fragments of the central 
provinces, were relegated to the frontiers, where they 
indulged their taSte for warfare at the expense of the 


infidel and the heathen, winning for themselves a 
goodly portion of the riches of this world, and the 
reputation of “ Warriors for the Faith ” to ensure their 
portion in the world to come. The Mongol conquers 
thus effectually contributed to the successes gained by 
the arms of Islam in India, and a few years later also 
in Thrace and the Balkan Peninsula, successes which 
were supplemented by the missionary labours of saints 
and darwish orders. 

When in 1325 I bn Battdta set out on his journeys, 
the political conditions in the Islamic lands were, in 
consequence, relatively stable and unusually favourable 
for travel. From Aswan to the frontier of Cilicia the 
word of the Sultan of Egypt was undisputed; the 
Crusaders were but a bitter memory, and relations 
with the Mongols, though not cordial, had not led 
to warfare since the laCl great victory of the youthful 
Ndsir at Damascus in 1303. Triq and Persia ^till 
acknowledged the rule of the Mongol Il-khans, now 
good Muslims, but defined soon to disappear. To 
the north and north-ea^l the other Mongol khanates 
of the Golden Horde and of Jaghatdy were on friendly 
terms. Finally in India the ferocious but energetic 
Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad ibn Tughlaq, was imposing 
his overlordship on the greater part of the sub-con- 
tinent. On the fringes of the great kingdoms, and in 
such outlying parts as Anatolia, Afghanistan, and the 
shores of the Indian Ocean, there existed a hoSt of 
petty sultans and amirs, who acknowledged no maSter 
and maintained a precarious throne on the proceeds 
of trade or freebooting, but these could hardly infliCt 
serious damage, even had they been so minded, on the 
Islamic community in general. Commerce proceeded 
freely both within and without the frontiers of Islam, 
in spite of heavy dues and occasional vexations; and 
if the indigenous industries had declined, in some 
cases to the point of extinction, the revival of the 

17 c 


European market brought unwonted prosperity to 
the carrying trade, which had not yet to face the 
formidable competition of the European merchants in 
the Eaflern Seas. 

The essentia] weakness of the later Muslim civiliza- 
tion ftands revealed mo^l clearly in the cultural in- 
equality of its several divisions, an inequality due 
mainly to the failure of the old empire to withiland 
the forces making for disintegration and decay. While 
in the tenth century the Islamic culture, then at its 
height, was diftributed almost uniformly throughout 
the whole length and breadth of the settled lands from 
the Atlantic to the mountains of Central Asia, we shall 
find, as we follow Ibn Battiita’s progress eastwards, 
how poor was the soil, how shallow the roots, which 
nourished the social life and supported the magnificent 
courts of many of the kingdoms in the fourteenth. 

North-weil Africa, called by the Arabs the Maghrib 
or Weil, which, together with Muslim Spain, had been 
united under the empires of the Almoravids and the 
Almohads in the twelfth century, was partitioned in 
the thirteenth between three dynailies: the Man'nids 
in the Fartheil Weil, or Morocco; the Ziy^nids in the 
Central Weil, with their capital at Tlemsen; and the 
Hafsids of Tunis, whose province of Ifn'qi'ya extended 
from Algiers to Tripoli. The dangers arising from 
this dismemberment were accentuated by the jealousies 
of the reigning houses, as they dissipated in internal 
feuds and barren mutual ilruggles the resources 
urgently required to protedl the cultivated lands from 
the ceaseless encroachments of the nomadic Arabs and 
Berbers, and the growing threat of the maritime 
Chriilian ilates. Even the moil prosperous of the 
three dynailies, the Hafsids of Tunis, conilantly found 
their authority flouted by the governors of the outlying 
provinces, and, though they had successfully repulsed 
the Crusade of St. Louis in 1270, loil Jerba to the 



Sicilians less than twenty years later, and only recovered 
it in 1334 with Neapolitan and Genoese help. Their 
empire extended in fa£l: only over the coaftal ftrip, 
with some few fortified towns in the interior. The 
prosperity of Tunis was due solely to its advantageous 
position at the debouchment of the main trade routes 
from the interior, which made it the premier commer- 
cial city of the Maghrib and second only to Alexandria 
among the Muslim Mediterranean ports, while its 
culture, like that of the Maghrib generally, was mainly 
sustained by refugees from the reconquered provinces 
of Spain. 

The Marlnid dynafty of Morocco, mailers of a 
richer territory, were in ^till worse case. Their 
hi^ory is a monotonous record of blood and ^Irife; 
few rulers were able to withstand the revolts and 
intrigues of their ambitious relatives, and these few 
used what respite they gained in military expeditions 
against their neighbours, or, more worthily, againft 
the Christians in Spain. The dynaSly reached its 
zenith under Abu’l-Hasan (1331-48) and his son 
Abii Tnan (1348-58), whose names frequently recur 
in the latter part of Ibn Battiita’s narrative. Abu’l- 
Hasan succeeded in capturing Sijilmasa and Tlemsen, 
and, in spite of a sanguinary defeat by the Spaniards 
at Tarifa in 1 340, was able to add Tunis to his domi- 
nions in 1347, only to lose it immediately and simul- 
taneously lose his throne to his rebel son Abii ‘Inan. 
The latter in turn, having recaptured Tlemsen and 
re-entered Tunis in 1357, was deserted by his army 
and strangled on his return to Fez, leaving the king- 
dom a prey to indescribable anarchy. Nevertheless 
Morocco itself enjoyed during these two reigns a period 
of relative prosperity, and its great cities were beautified 
by many public buildings, which in their day can have 
been little inferior to the magnificent monuments of 
Egypt and India. There is, in consequence, some 



juflification for the exuberant praise which Ibn 
Battiita bellows upon Abii ‘Inin’s beneficent adminis- 
tration, especially if it is remembered how chaotic 
were the conditions which, as will be seen, he had juft 
left behind in the Eaft. 

It is a pity that Ibn Battiita did not put on record 
the firft impressions left on his mind when, as a young 
man fresh from the narrow provincial life of Tangier, 
he traversed the highly cultivated Delta of Egypt and 
set foot in its opulent and teeming capital, then the 
metropolis of Islam. Alone of all the Islamic lands 
outside Arabia, Egypt had preserved the heritage of 
Muslim culture, while the Mongols in the Eaft and 
the nomadic Arabs and Berbers in the Weft carried 
devaftation up to its very gates. Though the dynafty 
founded by the great Saladin had given place to the 
military oligarchy known as the Mamliiks, or White 
Slaves, a form of government than which in theory 
none could be worse, Egypt from 1260 to 1341 
enjoyed, with short intervals of turmoil, not only 
widespread power and preftige, but also a high degree 
of prosperity. This was due mainly to three things. 
The MamMk Sultans Baybars I (1260-77), Qald’dn 
(1279-90), and al-Malik an-Ndsir (l 299-1 341), what- 
ever their personal faults (and they were many), were 
exceedingly capable and far-sighted rulers. In the 
second place the bureaucratic adminiftration which 
Egypt had inherited from its Byzantine and Fdtimid 
governors was in all probability the moft efficient 
inftrument of government which exifted in the Middle 
Ages. Thirdly Egypt enjoyed almoft a monopoly 
of the Indian trade, the moft profitable of all medieval 
commerce, and drew from it the vaft revenues which 
were needed for the upkeep of its elaborate organiza- 
tion, as well as for the conftruftion of the unsurpassed 
series of archite£hiral monuments which are the 
peculiar glory of Cairo. Under these circumftances 



the Mamliik sultans were able not only to maintain 
their authority again^l the Mongols in Syria and the 
Hijaz, but also to extend it into Nubia and Anatolia, 
and even weitwards to Tripoli for a time. 

The measure of Egypt’s fortune may be gauged 
from the ilate of the rival kingdom of ‘ Iraq and Persia. 
Of its former imperial cities some, like Balkh, were 
now mere names clinging to mounds of rubbish, and 
those which had escaped their fate were either, like 
Baghdad and Basra, withered and shrunken, or else 
the prey of contending factions, and though new 
cities, such as Tabriz and Sultaniya, had risen into 
prominence, their prosperity was evanescent. Already 
wafted by the successive nomadic invasions and civil 
ftruggles of the two preceding centuries, the ruin of 
‘Iraq and Northern Persia seemed to have been con- 
summated by the Mongol invasions between 1218 and 
1260. Under the firft heathen rulers of the Mongol 
dynafty, moreover, the Muslims were persecuted, but 
with the official conversion to Islam of Ghaz 4 n-Khan 
in 1295 ^ brighter era seemed to dawn. Though 
disorders continued to some extent under his succes- 
sors Uljdytd (1305-16) and Abd Sa‘fd (1317-35), 
‘Irdq, at leaft, recovered some of its former prosperity. 
The rich province of Fdrs, on the other hand, seems to 
have been little affefted by the disafters which befell 
the reft of Persia; though subjeft to the Mongols, it 
remained, as it had always been, somewhat apart from 
its neighbours, with its own peculiar ciilture and 
traditions. To the north-eaft of Persia, across the 
Oxus, were the territories of another Mongol dynafty, 
the Jaghatdy-Khans. During the early centuries of 
Isldm Transoxania had been one of the moft flourishing 
provinces of the Caliphate. Bukhdrd and Samarqand 
had a reputation inferior to none of the great cities of 
the Eaft, and even during the troublous times of 
Turkish overlordship in the eleventh and twelfth 



centuries something of their prosperity sftill lingered. 
But it was on Transoxania that the firsT: fury of the 
Mongol onset fell in 1219 and 1220, and under the 
Jaghatdy-Khans, the mosT; turbulent and barbarian of 
all the great Mongol dynasties, the shattered cities 
and wailed countryside had little hope of recovering 
more than a shadow of their former prosperity. 

The Muslim ilates in India have a totally different 
hiilory. Sind had, indeed, formed a province of the 
Caliphate, but the beginnings of an Indian Muslim 
empire go no farther back than the twelfth century. 
It was a great misfortune for India that the lateness of 
this conqueil delivered her into the hands of merciless 
and turbulent Turkish generals, whose aim was solely 
to establish themselves as independent princes and to 
extort as much as possible from its almodl inexhaudlible 
resources for their interminable wars. The sultans of 
Delhi, the line of which begins with Qutb ad-Din 
Aybak (i 206-11), claimed a suzerainty over the other 
ftates, which they were able to enforce only sporadically 
and at appalling co^l in blood and treasure. Unre- 
ilrained by the cultural traditions and bureaucratic 
organization of the old Islimic lands, which their 
fellow-countrymen, the Salji^qs and the Mamliiks, had 
been compelled to respedl, they gave free rein to their 
impulses. In consequence “ the bloodstained annals 
of the Sultanate of Delhi,” as Vincent Smith, the 
historian of India, remarks, “ are not pleasant reading." 
Of all the successors of Qutb ad-Dfn down to the 
establishment of the Timiirid dynaSly (the “ Grand 
Moguls ”) in 1526, there is scarcely one who was not 
intolerant, tyrannical, and cruel, and the same may be 
said, with few exceptions, of the minor dynaSlies. 
Arnong the early sultans the moSl notable were Altamsh 
or fltutmish (1211-36), who completed Qutb ad-Din’s 
buildings at Delhi, and ‘Aid ad-Dln of the Khiljf 
dynasty (1296-1315), who repelled a series of Mongol 



invasions and added many monuments to the archi- 
tefture of Delhi in addition to building the new town 
of Siri. 

In 1321 the throne was occupied by Ghiyath ad-Dln 
Tughlaq, under whom some sort of order was restored 
and the authority of Delhi extended again into Bengal 
and the Deccan . His son Jiind, the Sultan Muhammad 
of Ibn Battdta’s time, had his father murdered in 13259 
and ascending the throne without opposition “occu- 
pied it for twenty-six years of human tyranny as 
atrocious as any on record in the sad annals of human 
devilry and then died in his bed.” Yet the ambition 
of the sultans of Delhi to create a vaft Indian empire 
was more nearly achieved by him than by any other 
sultan prior to the Moguls. His success might have 
been ftill greater had it not been for the ilrange contra- 
diflions in his charafter so impartially exposed by 
Ibn Battdta (see Chapter VI.) and confirmed by all 
other available evidence. It would take us too far 
afield to discuss here in detail the aftivities of this 
extraordinary ruler, and the reader may be referred to 
the penetrating analysis contained in Vincent Smith’s 
Oxford History of India^ pages 236 to 246. 

Such were the conditions which Ibn Battiita found 
on his eastward journey. When we follow him as he 
retraced his fteps, less than twenty years later, it is 
impossible not to ^and amazed at the anarchy which 
within so short a period had spread over all the central 
lands of Isldm. In India itself, Sultan Muhammad’s 
grandiose designs had proved impossible to realize. 
Without an organized administration and a sySlem of 
government both flexible and consistent, neither the 
central nor the outlying provinces could be ruled from 
Delhi or anywhere else. Even before the sultan’s 
death, Beng^, the Deccan, and Malabar had begun 
to break away, and in spite of the talents of his cousin 
and successor, Firiiz Shih (1351-88), the preStige of 



Delhi rapidly decayed, and the dismemberment of 
India for the profit of petty princes continued un- 

The malady from which India was suffering had 
broken out again with redoubled violence ^in ‘Irdq 
and Persia on the extinction of the Mongol Ilkhdnate 
in 1336. The hopes that their conversion had raised, 
the promise of a government able and willing to give 
commerce and agriculture a chance of recovery, were 
savagely betrayed. It would have mattered little to 
the people who or which of the amirs seized the sove- 
reignty, but the division of the empire between a 
dozen quarrelling amirs spelled ruin and disaster. 
Here and there, no doubt, were islands of prosperity; 
I bn Battfita speaks of one such on the Euphrates above 
Anbar. But the mo^l serious feature was that the 
population under these repeated bludgeonings had 
loft heart, and a few years of anarchy now resulted in 
more depopulation than a century of anarchy had 
formerly caused. 

Nor was Egypt exempt from the general decline. 
The death of Nisir in 1341 opened the door to a 
prolonged series of dynaftic disputes, No fewer than 
eight of his sons were thruft upon the throne between 
1341 and 1351, and though the ftruggles over the 
succession involved only the Mamlfik soldiery -and 
not the people as a whole, yet at a time of repeated 
changes of government the wretched subjefts naturally 
sviifered more severely than from the calculated ex- 
tortions of a settled regime, and the disordered ftate 
of the kingdom is sufficiently indicated by the diminu- 
tion of the revenues. 

Even yet the cup of misery was not full. In 1348 
the Muslim lands were swept by the firft outbreak of 
the devouring peftilence known as the “ Black Death.” 
The extent of its ravages there will never be fully 
known, but, from the figures given by Ibn Battilta 



(see Chapter XII.) and in other sources, the loss of 
life during the visitation itself and in the famine which 
accompanied it was certainly appalling. In a young 
and vigorous society the effefts of such a disaster soon 
disappear; but where the social order is already reeling, 
many decades are required before equilibrium can be 
regained. This respite was not granted to the IsUmic 
world. A generation later, in 1381, the visitation 
was repeated, with as terrible effedl, and before the 
horror of it passed from men’s minds the whirlwind 
from Central Asia swept once more over all the Muslim 
lands from Delhi to Damascus and Smyrna, when 
Timiir, who called himself a fellow-Muslim, reduced 
to wafte and ashes what two invasions of the heathen 
Mongols and two visitations of the Plague had spared. 

There is one other aspeft of the history of this 
period which deserves a short reference. It may 
cause surprise that Ibn Battiita, though he regularly 
calls the Chri^ians infidels or heathens, rarely betrays 
any animosity towards them, and even travels on 
Genoese and Catalan vessels. The inconsistency is 
explained by the several relations in which the Muslims 
Stood to the Christians. The Sacred Law of Isldm 
places all Christians in one of two categories: native 
Christian communities, living peacefully in Muslim 
lands with their own social organization, but definitely 
inferior in Status; and unsubdued Christian States 
with which the Muslim State is theoretically at war. 
In general, therefore, its attitude, and that of the 
Muslims, to Christians was either hoStile or frigidly 
aloof. But Muslim and Christian met on a third 
footing, which the Canon Law had not envisaged and 
which the religious authorities on either side vainly 
tried to oppose. When the Normans had wreSted the 
command of the Mediterranean from the Arabs in 
the eleventh century, the commercial expansion of the 
Italian republics and of Roussillon led to the con- 



elusion of trading agreements with the Muslim states 
and the foundation of trading Nations in their ports. 
Though for mutual safety and convenience the Chris- 
tian traders were subjeft to certain reilriftions, such 
as the Muslims themselves were subjeft to in China, 
all these economic negotiations were transafted on 
the basis of complete equality and mutual respedl. 
This friendliness, in spite of the frequency of piracy 
on both sides, was maintained on the whole until the 
sixteenth century, and is reflefted in Ibn Battiita’s 
relations with the Christian traders and during his 
visit to Conran tinople. 



To the Muslim world in general, however, political 
events, though not devoid of interest, were matters of 
minor import. The medieval Muslim society was 
above all a religious society. To religion it owed its 
exigence, for the religion of Isldm was its sole bond 
of union. To religion it owed its common language 
of intercourse, for IsUm intervened to prevent the 
dissolution of Arabic into local diale£fs, and imposed 
a knowledge of Arabic on Persians and Turks. To 
religion it owed its heritage of literature, for religion 
had supplied the incentive to those studies out of which 
Arabic literature (poetry alone excepted) arose. To 
religion it owed its social organization and its .laws, 
for Isl4m had built up a new legal system, obliterating, 
at leaSl in all the civilized lands, the old social organi- 
zations and Social inequalities. To religion it owed 
its corporate feeling, for Isldm gave to every believer 
the sense of common fellowship in its universal 
Brotherhood. Religion, in fine, not only created the 
cultural background and psychological orientation of 
Muslim society, but supplied for its members a philo- 


sophy of living and ordained even the lea^ aftivities 
of their daily life. 

The whole of Arabic literature reflefts these social 
circum^ances by an insistence on religious values and 
an interest in matters of religion, which is apt to make 
heavy demands on the patience and knowledge of 
modern readers. This naturally applies with special 
force to Ibn Battiita’s book, no version of which can 
possibly exclude all allusions to religious subjedts. 
For this reason it may lighten the English reader’s 
way to give here some account of the religious insti- 
tutions of Isldm and the organizations which sprang 
up on Islamic soil. 

The general beliefs of Isldm require little explana- 
tion. The central dogma is that there is but One 
God, Creator of heaven and earth. Who alone is to 
be worshipped, the absolute MaSter of all His 
creatures, whose lives He has, in His inscrutable 
Love and Wisdom, foreordained, and whom He shall 
judge on the laSt awful Day. For their guidance He 
has raised up a succession of Prophets, the line of 
which, beginning with Adam, and continued through 
Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus, 
together with an unnumbered hoil of minor Prophets, 
culminated in Muhammad. The doftrine preached 
by all these Prophets is essentially one and the same, 
with slight modifications for time and place, namely 
Islam, or self-surrender to the Will of God. It is 
set forth in a series of verbally inspired books given 
by Divine Revelation to several of the Prophets, 
notably the Torah (Pentateuch) to Moses, the Psalms 
to David, the Evangel (which is not exaftly the Gospels 
of the New Teftament) to Jesus, and the Koran — ^the 
final and perfeft repository of the Divine Word — ^to 
Muhammad. Such revelations were made not dire6tiy 
to the Prophet, but transmitted through the Archangel 
Gabriel, In addition to men and angels, there is a 



third class of created beings, namely the Jinn, who 
being made of fire have bodies more subtle than those 
of men, and possess superhuman powers, but, like 
men, shall be called to account on the Day of 

But Islim is much more than the mere affirmation 
of certain beliefs. No one has fully earned the name 
of Muslim who does not also carry out with regularity 
the religious duties imposed upon him. The main 
“Pillars of the Faith ” are four: (i) The five daily 
prayer-rituals, each made up of a fixed number of 
repetitions of a uniform series of bodily po^ures and 
recitations, with the face towards the (^bla^ i.e. Mecca. 
The prayers are to be performed either congrega- 
tionally or in private at ^ated hours : ju^ before sun- 
rise, ju^l after noon, in mid-afternoon, ju^l after sunset, 
and two or three hours after nightfall. Congrega- 
tional prajrers are performed in a mosque and are led 
by one (it is immaterial which one) of the worshippers. 
In the mosque there are no images, no paintings, 
nothing to difkradl the mind of the auftere monotheist 
from concentration on the aft of devotion. At moft 
the yalls may be decorated with a tracery of geo- 
metrical designs, whose endless interfacings may 
perhaps serve to weary the outward vision and give 
fuller play to the inner spiritual perceptions. The 
principal congregational service of the week, which is 
held only in “ cathedral ” mosques, is the noon prayer 
on Friday, when, in addition to the ordinary ritual 
prayers, the official Preacher of the mosque delivers 
from the pulpit a formal Khutba or allocution, con- 
taining inter alia prayers for the reigning ruler, fol- 
lowed usually by a sermon or exhortation {ma'uo'iz^. 
Similar services are held on the two great feftival days, 
the lesser feftival at the close of the failing month of 
Ramaddn, and the greater feftival on the tenth day 
of the month of Pilgrimage. Before beginning to 


pray the worshipper muil in every case be in a ^late 
of ritual purity, which is ensured by the formal ablu- 
tion of face, arms, and feet at the fountain provided 
in every mosque. (2) The payment of a fixed alms- 
tax on all property, averaging two and a half per cent, 
annually. (3) The observance of the annual fa^l 
during the month of Ramaddn, i.e. complete abstinence 
from all food and drink (including nowadays smoking) 
between the hours of sunrise and sunset for the period 
of one lunar month. (4) For those who are of age 
and have the means to carry it out, the obligation to 
make the Pilgrimage to Mecca at leaSt once in a 

Besides its dogmatics and its religious praftices, 
Isldm includes a complete legal and social sySlem, 
based on the Koran and the Hadith — the sayings and 
adtipns attributed to the Prophet. This Islamic Law 
was expounded by four schools of juriSls in the second 
and third centuries of the Muslim era. The schools 
differ only in minor points of interpretation, and all 
are regarded as equally orthodox. The La.w was 
administered by the qadi^ and in the capital cities of 
the EaSl there was usually a supreme qddi for each 
rite. In praflice criminal addons were often decided 
by the Sultan or his officers and sometimes legalized 
by the formal assent of a qddf. The point at which 
the social syStem of Islam diverges moSl radically 
from European syStems is found in the sphere of 
marriage and divorce. It is cominonly known that 
a Muslim may possess up to four wives at one time in 
addition to slave concubines, and that he is at liberty, 
subjedl to certain none too rigorous legal safeguards, 
to divorce the former at will, and to dispose of the 
latter unless they have borne him male children. 
Such provisions were admirably suited to a roving life, 
and Ibn Battdta took full advantage of them. Details 
that no European — ^far less any Christian clergyman — 



would conununicate are set down by him quite simply 
and naturally, since they iland in a measure outside 
the moral field, in a category not unlike that of eating 
and drinking. One should not, however, draw over- 
ha^y conclusions from the casual manner in which 
Ibn Battiita speaks of his wives. It is not good 
manners for a Muslim to refer to his womenfolk in 
ordinary social intercourse, and when, on rare occa- 
sions, Ibn Battiita breaks through the convention, it 
is generally no more than a brief explanatory reference 
made in connexion with some other circumstance. 

In regard to a second feature of the Muslim social 
system, the pradtice of slavery, it is important to bear 
in mind that the slave was generally the body-servant 
or retainer of his maSter, and that slavery was in no 
sense the economic basis of Muslim society. MaSter 
and slave thus Stood in a more humane relationship 
than did the slave cultivator to the Roman landed 
proprietor or the American planter. There was 
consequently less Stigma attaching to slavery, and in 
no other society has there been anything resembling 
the system by which, as has been shown in the pre- 
ceding sedtion, the white slaves came to furnish the 
privileged cadres whence the high officers of State, 
commanders, governors, and at length even sultans, 
were almoSt exclusively drawn. 

The following Story, told by a theologian of the 
third century, represents without serious distortion the 
relations, which, as numerous parallels in Arabic 
literature indicate, often existed between maSter, wife, 
and slave. 

I saw a slave-boy being audtioned for thirty dindrs, 
and as he was worth three hundred I bought him. 
I was building a house at the time, and I gave him 
twenty dinars to lay out on the workmen. He spent 
ten on them and bought a garment for himself with 
the other ten. I said to him “ What’s this ?” to which 



he replied “ Don’t be hafty; no gentleman scolds his 
slaves.” I said to myself “ Here have I bought the 
Caliph’s tutor without knowing it.” Later on I 
wanted to marry a woman unknown to my cousin 
(i.e. my fir^ wife), so I swore him to secrecy and gave 
him a dinar to buy some things, including some of the 
fish called h^2,iba. But he bought something else, 
and when I was wroth with him he said “ I find that 
Hippocrates disapproves of haziba.” I said to him 
“ You worthless fool, I was not aware that I had bought 
a Galen,” and gave him ten blows with the whip. But 
he seized me and gave me seven back saying, “ Sir, 
three blows is enough as a punishment, and the seven 
I gave you are my rightful retaliation.” So I made 
at him and gave him a cut on the head, whereupon he 
went ofiF to my cousin, and said to her “ Sincerity is 
a religious duty, and whoever deceives us is not one of 
us. My mafler has married and he swore me to 
silence, and when I said to him that my lady muft be 
told of it he broke my head.” So my cousin would 
neither let me into the house nor let me have anything 
out of it, until at laft I had to divorce the other woman. 
After that she used to call the boy “ The hone^ lad,” 
and I could not say a word to him, so I said to myself 
“ I shall set him free, and then I shall have peace.” 

The moil original features of the IsMmic syilem are 
to be found in its religious organizations, of which there 
were two, to some extent rivals of one another. The 
official religious syilem of Islam excludes the concep- 
tion of a clergy, and consequently of a hierarchy. 
There are no sacraments. All believers iland on 
an equal footing in matters of religion, and none is 
entitled to claim any spiritual fundlions which are not 
shared by every member of the community. In actual 
praflice, however, it was impossible to maintain the 
theory of equality. Where a society is bound up with 
a religious sy^em, the cleric, the expounder of dodlrine, 



the arbiter on points of law, inevitably establishes 
a moral predominance over his more ignorant fellows, 
that is none the less real or even tyrannical because it 
has no outward legal support. The mere maintenance 
of the religious system thus called into being a religious 
aristocracy, as we have already termed the body of 
theologians, differing, however, from the Christian 
hierarchy in that the elaborate gradations of the 
latter were unknown, that it had no spiritual pre- 
rogatives, and was open to all without seeking any 
man’s leave or taking any vows. For the reSt, the 
system had much the same merits and defefts as a 
priesthood, though the theologians of IslSm generally 
held more aloof from the civil administration than did 
the Christian hierarchy, and adopted an attitude which 
in the long run produced disastrous effeSts on both 
church and civil government. In the political field 
their influence was mainly negative. Since it devolved 
upon the community as a whole to ensure the obser- 
vance of the Faith, the theologians soon found that 
they could use their influence to mould public opinion 
and create of it a weapon with which to intimidate 
law-breakers and keep in check local autocrats and 
tyrants. It was rarely that even the moSl despotic 
ruler ventured to brave the public disapproval, as may 
be seen from some of the Stories related by Ibn 
Battdta. On the other hand the example of Sultan 
Muhammad of Delhi is sufficient to show that when 
the ruler was aStute enough to humour the theologians 
with his left hand, there were few who dared enquire 
too closely into what he did with his right. 

On the community as a whole was laid yet another 
duty, which co\fld not be delegated to the pro- 
fessional theologians, the duty of defending by the 
sword the territorial and religious heritage of Isl4m. 
The Jihddy which was reckoned by some juriSls 
as an obligation of the same degree as prayer and 



failing, and in the early days had indeed been the 
conftant occupation of every Muslim, in a form more 
offensive than defensive, was revived by the Crusades 
and the Christian reconquer in Spain. No longer, 
however, was it regarded as the personal duty of every 
Muslim to take up arms for the defence of Isldm, and 
for the moil part the Syrians and Andalusians were 
left to defend their territories by themselves. Never- 
theless, the inducement of Paradise, held out as the 
reward of the martyr who dies fighting for the Faith, 
was ilrong enough to maintain a ileady movement of 
volunteers to the theatres of war againil the Chriitian 
or heathen. These volunteers lived on the frontier 
in forts or fortified lines called by the name of ribdt 
(which means literally “ pickets ”), and were known 
as Ghazis or Murdbits, the neareil English equivalent 
for which is “ mounted frontiersmen.” By the four- 
teenth century it was probably only in Andalusia 
that the institution preserved its primitive charafter. 
Elsewhere it had developed along two very different 
lines. On the one hand the fighting life attracted all 
the moSl turbulent elements in the Muslim empire, 
and the Ghdzfs rapidly degenerated into bands of 
condottieri and brigands, a source of much greater 
vexation to Muslim rulers than to the infidels. 

On the other hand it was associated with the rise 
of the ascetic and mySlical movement within Islim. 
Early Muslim asceticism was dominated by fear of 
Hell. Since death on Jihid was the only sure passport 
to Paradise, it came about that in the early days ascetics 
had generally taken a prominent part in the frontier 
warfare. Later on Jihdd was interpreted to apply to 
the inward and spiritual struggle againil the tempta- 
tions of the world, and the SdfU (as the mystics were ■’ 
now called) withdrew from secular warfare, but 
retained the old terminology. The ribdt was now the ' 
ascetic’s hermitage or the convent or hospice where 

33 D 


the devotees congregated to live the religious life. In 
course of time the loose primitive associations became 
linked up in an organization which tended to grow 
more elaborate and hierarchical, with ascending grades 
of spiritual perception and power. We may here, 
however, omit the details of this myflical hierarchy, 
and pass at once to examine the working of the sufi 
or darwish orders in the fourteenth century, and their 
relations with the theologians. 

In general the followers of the myftic’s path were by 
this time grouped in congregations, called after some 
eminent shaykh, who was regarded as the founder of 
the tariqa or rule, including the ritual litany, which, 
as will be explained shortly, was one of the diilin- 
guishing marks of each congregation. Round the 
convent of the founder rose a girdle of daughter 
houses, as disciples of the order spread throughout the 
Muslim world, and in mo^ cases all the members 
looked up to the descendants or successors of the 
founder (for in Islim asceticism does not imply celi- 
bacy) as their head. The older individually asceticism 
was not yet extinft, however, and everywhere, but 
especially in North-wefl Africa and in Mt. Lebanon, 
were to be found recluses who were completely inde- 
pendent of the darwish orders, though they also often 
claimed spiritual affiliation with and descent from the 
great Sdfi leaders of the early centuries. Still more 
freely, outside the walls of convent or cell, roamed 
numbers of darwishes or Jaqirs^ affiliated and non- 
affiliated, diyinguished by the patched robe, wallet, 
and flaff, who scorned to earn so much as a mite by 
their own labours, truying to the Providence of God 
and the charity of the Faithful, and who at times 
displayed an importunity and effrontery more easily 
associated with professional mendicants than pious 
“ almsmen.” 

The fundamental aim of the Siiff life, however or 



wherever lived, was to pierce the veils of human sense 
which shut man off from the Divine and so attain to 
communion with and absorption into God. Their 
days and nights were spent in prayer and contempla- 
tion, in failing and ascetic exercises. At frequent 
intervals all the inhabitants of the convent, or the 
local members of the tariqa, met to celebrate the ritual 
litany, the dhikr^ according to their peculiar rites. The 
dhikr was intended to produce a hypnotic effeft on the 
participants and so allow them to tafte momentarily 
the joys of reunion with the Divine. With that 
extravagance which accompanies all expression of 
rising emotion in Eaftern life and thought, the litany 
in mo^l cases passed into a fantastic exhibition of 
marvellous or thaumaturgical feats, such as Ibn 
Battdta describes on several occasions. Some would 
whirl and pirouette for hours at a time, others would 
chew serpents or glass, walk in fire, or thru^ knives 
through their limbs, without any worse effedls than at 
moft a temporary nervous exhau^ion. 

The faculty of self-torture without inflifting visible 
injury, which is amply vouched for by modern 
travellers who have witnessed the lamentations of the 
Shi'ites for the death of Husayn, or, like the late Lord 
Curzon, have attended the seances of the ‘Isawlya 
darwlshes in North-we^f Africa, leads up to a related 
and difficult queilion. All European commentators 
of Ibn Battdta have referred to his credulity, his fond- 
ness for the miraculous and uncritical acceptance of 
reported miracles worked by the famous shaykhs and 
saints whom he met. His powers of belief are not, 
however, entirely unlimited, as may be seen from the 
doubts which he expresses on more than one occasion 
in regard to extravagant claims. The Tories of 
miracles which he relates at secondhand do him no 
discredit; the power of saints to perform miracles was 
and ^lill is believed by the mass of Muslims, and such 



tales interefled both narrator and audience. It is 
when he tells of miraculous events diredlly associated 
with himself that the problem of their truth muil be 
definitely faced. In some cases it may be possible to 
explain them by hypnotism (if that in fadl “ explains ” 
them), as the Muslim theologian explained the Chinese 
magician’s tricks at Hang-chow; in others, we may 
suspedl the arts of the conjurer; but there is a residue, 
including, for example, the account of his escape after 
his capture at Koel in India, where we muft either 
accept the miraculous element or give the lie diredl 
to the traveller. To the naturalistic and mechaniftic 
mind of the nineteenth century the choice was simple, 
as it is Still to those who charge I bn Battiita with 
wholesale invention in regard to his travels. But 
the twentieth-century reader has greater faith in the 
powers of God and man, and while he may remain 
critical he will not rejedt a priori any narrative that 
involves the “ miraculous.” There can be no doubt 
that in certain orders, at leaSl, the severe bodily and 
mental training undergone by a darwish as he advances 
to the higher grades of initiation is accompanied by an 
expansion of mental powers, beginning with simple 
telepathy. The doubting reader may be referred to 
an illuminating account by Professor D. B. Macdonald 
{Aspects oj Islam, p. 170) of an ex-darwfsh converted 
to Christianity who Still retained his telepathic gifts. 
The only prudent course, it would seem, is to suspend 
judgment, and in the meantime give Ibn Battiita the 
credit for relating what he at leaSt believed to be the 

It is a little surprising, however, to find him so 
deeply interested in and so sympathetic in general 
towards the darwishes and Sdfis. The average 
theologian regarded them with suspicion, if not with 
aversion, for various reasons, religious and secular, 
while the myStic in turn frequently despised the 


theologian for his formalism and cult of the letter. 
The fir^ point of issue between them dealt with the 
nature of religious knowledge. To the theologians, 
there was but one road to the apprehension of truth, 
‘//w or savoir, the science of theology, with all its 
scholastic appurtenances involved in the Study of 
the Koran and the Traditions of the Prophet. The 
darwish, on the other hand, sought ma'rifa or connais- 
sance^ that direft knowledge of God, which in his view 
was often actually hindered by the Study of theology. 
Sufism showed an antinomian tendency which could 
not but excite the disapprobation of the legalist, who 
sought and found satisfadtion for his religious in^indts 
in the ritual duties prescribed by the Faith. More- 
over the reverence accorded by the disciple to his 
shaykh when alive, and the elevation of former shaykhs 
to the rank of saints, to whom invocations were 
addressed, seemed to the theologian to deSlroy the 
non-sacerdotal principle, and even to trespass into 
polytheism, the one mortal sin in Islim. At firSl the 
breach between theologian and Sdfi had been much 
wider, but in course of time the popular influence 
enjoyed by the Sdfis forced the theologians, however 
unwillingly, to terms in the matter of saint-worship. 
The success of the Sdfis in legitimating their pradlices 
was possibly not a little due to pressure exerted outside 
the purely religious field. They formed, as has been 
seen, a rival religious organization, and it is evident 
that some of the hodlility felt by the theologians was 
due to competition for popular favour and support. 
As the balance of popularity turned in favour of the 
Sdfis, especially with the influx of the Turkish element 
into the social and political life of Isldm, the theologians 
found it necessary to admit much that they had formerly 
resided and perhaps continued to chafe at. By the 
fourteenth century their capitulation was complete, 
when the laft outstanding opponent of the Siiff heresies, 



that Ibn Taymiya whom Ibn Battiita saw in Damascus, 
and whom he speaks of as “ having a bee in his bonnet,” 
was silenced. But the hostility remained, now more, 
now less openly shown. In North-we^l Africa it seems 
to have been much weaker than elsewhere, possibly 
because of the strong inherited attachment of the 
Berbers, which they ftill show, to the principle of local 
sanftuaries and “ holy men,” islamized under the name 
of murdbits (“ marabouts ”). This may serve to ex- 
plain why Ibn Battiita, trained theologian as he was, 
ilill had all a Berber’s interest in the holy men whom 
he met on his travels. 

The antagonism between legiil and follower of the 
Inner Light was, however, unimportant by com- 
parison with the hatred engendered by the Great 
Schism of Islam, the division between Sunni and Shi' tie. 
The Shi’ite movement began in the firft century of 
Islam as political propaganda again^ the Umayyad 
dynasty of Caliphs in favour of the house of ‘AH, the 
son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet. It was then 
hand in glove with the orthodox, and succeeded both 
in impressing its historical point of view on orthodox 
sentiment and in overthrowing the hated dynaSly, 
only to be cheated of its political hopes by the establish- 
ment of the rival ‘Abbisid line, and to fall inStead'under 
a more methodical persecution than hitherto. Shi'ism 
now took to the catacombs, and soon became a separate 
heretical seft, distinguished by the doiftrine of alle- 
giance to a divinely appointed, sinless, and infallible 
spiritual leader, the Imdm, inStead of an eledtive lay 
head or Caliph. The Imamate they held to be heredi- 
tary in the house of ‘AH, but the various sub-groups 
differed on the point at which the succession of Imdms 
was interrupted. The belief of the principal group, 
or “Twelvers,” to which the Shi'ites of Persia and 
‘Irdq Still belong, was that the twelfth Imim of the 
line disappeared about the year 873 into a cave at 



Hilla, but that he continues, through the heads of 
the religious organization, to provide spiritual and 
temporal guidance for his people, and will reappear 
as the promised Mahdi to bring the long reign of 
tyranny to an end. This Grange doftrine of a 
“ Hidden Im4m ” or “ Expefted Imdm,” often re- 
ferred to as the “ Master of the Age,” is recalled by 
the ceremony at Hilla, of which Ibn Battdta gives a 
graphic description. 

Shi'ism has always shown a much ilronger seftarian 
tendency than orthodox Islam, and was di^inguished 
from its earlie^l days by the number and variety of 
its offshoots. The general tendency of the sedls was 
to adopt, under the influence of various syncretic 
philosophies, ^till more extreme views on the person 
of ‘AH and his descendants, even to the extent of 
defying them. Such Ghuldt or “ Extremists ” seem 
to have found special favour in Syria where, indeed, 
two of the largest of these communities are Still to 
be found, the Druse and the Nusayrls (now called 
‘ Alawfs), alongside the majority Shi‘ites of the Twelvers 
se£t, locally known as Mutawalls. From the same 
cause arises its intolerance. The Shi'ite hates, where 
the Sunni merely despises. His hatred is by no means 
reserved for non-Muslims, but is freely beStowed 
upon the other Isldmic sefts, especially upon the Sdfis, 
whose views admit of no reconciliation with the ponti- 
fical syStem of Shi'ism. With such feelings on the 
one side reciprocated on the other, it is not surprising 
to find a constant feud raging in Syria, in spite of the 
efforts of the Mamldk governors. Over and over in 
Ibn Battdta’s work the reader will note traces of the 
enmity that divided Sunni from Shi'ite, not lea^f in 
the writer’s personal animosity, which shows in the 
sub^itution of the opprobrious Rdjidhi or “ Refuser,” 
for Shi'ite or ‘Alawf. The explanation of this term 
is to be found in a praftice adopted by the Shi'ites, as 



a logical consequence of their Imamate theory. Hold- 
ing that ‘AH alone had the right to succeed his cousin 
Muhammad, they regard the three Caliphs who 
reigned before him as usurpers and traitors, and 
sub^itute a curse for the blessing which the pious 
Sunni Muslim pronounces after the names of these 
the closest companions of the Prophet — a deliberate 
insult which naturally arouses the indignation of the 
Sunnis in a far greater degree than their more theoretical 
dogmatic heresies. 



Praise be to Gody Who hath subdued the earth to His 
servants that they may tread thereon spacious waySy Who 
hath made therefrom and thereunto the three moments of 
growth y returny and recall^ and hath perfected His Bounty 
toward His creatures in subjecting to them the beads of 
the field and vessels towering like mountains^ that they 
may beStride the ridge of the wilderness and the deeps of 
the ocean. May the blessing of God red upon our chief 
and master Muhammad who made plain a way for 
mankind and caused the light of His guidance to shine forth 
in radiance^ and upon all who are honoured by relationship 
with him. 

Amongft those who presented themselves at the illu^Vrious gates 
of our lord the Caliph and Commander of the Faithful Abd ‘Indn 
Fdris was the learned and moft veracious traveller Abti ‘Abdall4h 
Muhammad of Tangier known as Ibn Battita and in the eaftern lands 
as Shams ad-Dfn, who having journeyed round the world and visited 
its cities observantly and attentively, having inveiligated the diversities 
of nations and experienced the cu^oms of Arabs and non-Arabs, laid 
down the ilaff of travel in this noble metropolis. A gracious command 
prescribed that he should didlate an account of the cities which he had 
seen on his journeys, of the interefting events which he retained in his 
memory and of the rulers of countries, learned men and pious saints 
whom he had met, and that the humble servant Muhammad ibn 
Juzayy should unite the morsels of his didation into a book v'hich 
should include all their merits and preserve them in a clear and elegant 
^lyle. I have therefore rendered the sense of the Shaykh Abii ‘Abdal- 
lah’s narrative in language adequate to his purposes, often reproducing 
without alteration his own words, and I have reported all his Glories 
and narratives of events without investigating their truthfulness since 
he himself has authenticated them with the ilronge^l proofs. 

Here begins the narrative of the Shaykh Abii 
‘Abdalldh [Ibn Battiita].. 




I LEFT Tangier, my birthplace, on Thursday, 2nd 
Rajab, 725 [14th June, 1325], being at that time 
twenty-two [lunar] years of age,^ with the intention 
of making the Pilgrimage to the Holy House [at 
Mecca] and the Tomb of the Prophet [at Madina], 
I set out alone, finding no companion to cheer the way 
with friendly intercourse, and no party of travellers 
with whom to associate myself. Swayed by an over- 
mastering impulse within me, and a long-cherished 
desire to visit those glorious sanctuaries, I resolved 
to quit all my friends and tear myself away from my 
home. As my parents were Still alive, it weighed 
grievously upon me to part from them, and both they 
and I were affliCted with sorrow. 

On reaching the city of Tilimsdn [Tlemsen], whose 
sultan at that time was Abii Tashifin,^ I found there 
two ambassadors of the Sultan of Tunis, who left the 
city on the same day that I arrived. One of the 
brethren having advised me to accompany them, I 
consulted the will of God in this matter,® and after 
a ftay of three days in the city to procure all that I 
needed, I rode after them with all speed. I overtook 
them at the town of Miliana, where we Stayed ten 
days, as both ambassadors fell sick on account of the 
SLunmer heats. When we set out again, one of them 
grew worse, and died after we had Stopped for three 
nights by a Stream four miles from Miliana. I left 
their party there and pursued my journey, with a 
company of merchants from Tunis. On reaching 



al-Jaza’ir [Algiers] we halted outside the town for 
a few days, until the former party rejoined us, when 
we went on together through the Mitija'* to the moun- 
tain of Oaks [Jurjiira] and so reached Bijdya [Bougie].® 
The commander of Bijaya at this time was the chamber- 
lain Ibn Sayyid an-Nas. Now one of the Tunisian 
merchants of our party had died leaving three thousand 
dinars of gold, which he had entrufted to a certain 
man of Algiers to deliver to his heirs at Tunis, Ibn 
Sayyid an-Nas came to hear of this and forcibly seized 
the money. This was the fir^ instance I witnessed 
of the tyranny of the agents of the Tunisian govern- 
ment. At Bijaya I fell ill of a fever, and one of my 
friends advised me to ftay there till I recovered. 
But I refused, saying, “ If God decrees my death, it 
shall be on the road with my face set toward Mecca.” 
“ If that is your resolve,” he replied, “ sell your ass 
and your heavy baggage, and I shall lend you what 
you require. In this way you will travel light, for 
we mu^ make hafte on our journey, for fear of meeting 
roving Arabs on the way.”® I followed his advice and 
he did as he had promised — ^may God reward him 1 
On reaching Qusantinah [Constantine] we camped 
outside the town, but a heavy rain forced us to leave 
our tents during the night and take refuge in some 
houses there. Next day the governor of the city 
came to meet us. Seeing my clothes all soiled by the 
rain he gave orders that they should be washed at his 
house, and in place of my old worn headcloth sent 
me a headcloth of fine Syrian cloth, in one of the ends 
of which he had tied two gold dinars. This yvas the 
firSl alms I received on my journey. From Qusan- 
tinah we reached Bona where, after Slaying in the 
town for several days, we left the merchants of our 
party on account of the dangers of the road, while 
we pursued our journey with the utmoSl speed. I 
was again attacked by fever, so I tied myself in the 



saddle with a turban-cloth in case I should fall by 
reason of my weakness. So great was my fear that 
I could not dismount until we arrived at Tunis. The 
population of the city came out to meet the members 
of our party, and on all sides greetings and queftions 
were exchanged, but not a soul greeted me as no one 
there was known to me. I was so affefted by my 
loneliness that I could not retrain my tears and wept 
bitterly, until one of the pilgrims realized the cause 
of my digress and coming up to me greeted me kindly 
and continued to entertain me with friendly talk until 
I entered the city. 

The Sultan of Tunis at that time was Abd Yahyd, 
the son of Abd Zakariya IL, and there were a number 
of notable scholars in the town.’ During my ilay the 
feftival of the Breaking of the Faft fell due, and I 
joined the company at the Praying-ground.® The 
inhabitants assembled in large numbers to celebrate 
the festival, making a brave show and wearing their 
richest apparel. The Sultan Abd Yahya arrived on 
horseback, accompanied by all his relatives, courtiers, 
and officers of ftate walking on foot in a lately pro- 
cession. After the recital of the prayer and the 
conclusion of the Allocution the people returned to 
their homes. 

Some time later the pilgrim caravan for the iiijiz 
was formed, and they nominated me as their qddf 
(judge). We left Tunis early in November, following 
the coail road through Sdsa, Sfax, and Qabis,® where 
we ftayed for ten days on account of incessant rains. 
Thence we set out for Tripoli, accompanied for several 
Plages by a hundred or more horsemen as well as a 
detachment of archers, out of respeft for whom the 
Arabs kept their distance. I had made a contraft of 
marriage at Sfax with the daughter of one of the 
syndics at Tunis, and at Tripoli she was conduced 
to me, but after leaving Tripoli I became involved 



in a dispute with her father, which necessitated my 
separation from her. I then married the daughter of 
a ftudent from Fez, and when she was condufted to 
me I detained the caravan for a day by entertaining 
them all at a wedding party. 

At length on April 5th (1326) we reached Alex- 
andria. It is a beautiful city, well-built and fortified 
with four gates^® and a magnificent port. Among all 
the ports in the world I have seen none to equal it 
except Kawlam [Quilon] and Calicfit in India, the 
port of the infidels [Genoese] at Sfiddq in the land of 
the Turks, and the port of Zaytiin in China, all of 
which will be described later. I went to see the light- 
house on this occasion and found one of its faces in 
ruins. It is a very high square building, and its door 
is above the level of the earth. Opposite the door, 
and of the same height, is a building from which there 
is a plank bridge to the door; if this is removed there 
is no means of entrance. Inside the door is a place 
for the lighthouse-keeper, and within the lighthouse 
there are many chambers. The breadth of the passage 
inside is nine spans and that of the wall ten spans; 
each of the four sides of the lighthouse is 140 spans 
in breadth. It is situated on a high mound and lies 
three miles from the city on a long tongue of land 
which juts out into the sea from close by the city wall, 
so that the lighthouse cannot be reached by land 
except from the city. On my return to the We^l 
in the year 750 [1349] I visited the lighthouse again, 
and found that it had fallen into so ruinous a condition 
that it was not possible to enter it or climb up to the 
door.“ Al-Malik an-Ndsir had Parted to build a 
similar lighthouse alongside it but was prevented by 
death from completing the work. Another of the 
marvellous things in this city is the awe-inspiring 
marble column in its outskirts which they call the 
“ Pillar of Columns.” It is a single block, skilfully 


carved, crefted on a plinth of square ^ones like enor- 
mous platforms, and no one knows how it was erefted 
there nor for certain who erefted it.“ 

One of the learned men of Alexandria was the qadi, 
a mailer of eloquence, who used to wear a turban of 
extraordinary size. Never either in the eailern or the 
weilern lands have I seen a more voluminous head- 
gear. Another of them was the pious ascetic Burhdn 
ad-Dln, whom I met during my ilay and whose 
hospitality I enjoyed for three days. One day as I 
entered his room he said to me “ I see that you are 
fond of travelling through foreign lands.” I replied 
“ Yes, I am ” (though I had as yet no thought of going 
to such diilant lands as India or China). Then he 
said “You muil certainly visit my brother^® Farid 
ad-Din in India, and my brother Rukn ad-Din in 
Sind, and my brother Burhdn ad-Din in China, and 
when you find them give them greeting from me.” 
I was amazed at his prediftion, and the idea of going 
to these countries having been caft into my mind, my 
journeys ceased until I had met these three that 
he named and conveyed his greeting to them, 
y During my ^ay at Alexandria I had heard of the 
pious Shaykh al-Murshidl,who bellowed gifts miracu- 
lously created at his desire. He lived in solitary 
retreat in a cell in the country where he was visited 
by princes and ministers. Parties of men in all ranks 
of life used to come to him every day and he would 
supply them all with food. Each one of them would 
desire to eat some flesh or fruit or sweetmeat at his 
cell, and to each he would give what he had suggested, 
though it was frequently out of season. His fame was 
carried from mouth to mouth far and wide, and the 
Sultan too had visited him several times in his retreat. 
I set out from Alexandria to seek this shaykh and 
passing through Damanhfir came to Fawwi [Fua], 
a beautiful township, close by which, separated from 



it by a canal, lies the shaykh’s cell. I reached this 
cell about mid-afternoon, and on saluting the shaykh 
I found that he had with him one of the sultan’s 
aides-de-camp, who had encamped with his troops 
juil outside. The shaykh rose and embraced me, and 
calling for food invited me to eat. When the hour 
of the afternoon prayer arrived he set me in front as 
prayer-leader, and did the same on every occasion 
when we were together at the times of prayer during 
my ^ay. When I wished to sleep he said to me 
“ Go up to the roof of the cell and sleep there ” (this 
was during the summer heats). I said to the officer 
“In the name of God,”^* but he replied [quoting from 
the Koran] “ There is none of us but has an appointed 
place.” So I mounted to the roof and found there 
a ^Iraw mattress and a leather mat, a water vessel for 
ritual ablutions, ajar of water and a drinking-cup, and 
I lay down there to sleep. 

That night, while I was sleeping on the roof of the 
cell, I dreamed that I was on the wing of a great bird 
which was flying with me towards Mecca, then to 
Yemen, then ea^wards, and thereafter going towards 
the south, then flying far eastwards, and finally landing 
in a, dark and green country, where it left me. I 
was aftonished at this dream and said to myself “ If 
the shaykh can interpret my dream for me, he is all 
that they say he is.” Next morning, after all the 
other visitors had gone, he called me and when I had 
related my dream interpreted it to me saying: “You 
will make the pilgrimage [to Mecca] and visit [the 
Tomb of] the Prophet, and you will travel through 
Yemen, Trdq, the country of the Turks, and India. 
You will ilay there for a long time and meet there 
my brother Dilshad the Indian, who will rescue you 
from a danger into which you will fall.” Then he 
gave me a travelling-provision of small cakes and 
money, and I bade him farewell and departed. Never 



since parting from him have I met on my journeys 
aught but good fortune, and his blessings have ilood 
me in good ftead. 

We rode from here to Damietta through a number 
of towns, in each of which we visited the principal men 
of religion. Damietta lies on the bank of the Nile, 
and the people in the houses next to the river draw 
water from it in buckets. Many of the houses have 
ileps leading down to the river. Their sheep and 
goats are allowed to pasture at liberty day and night; 
for this reason the saying goes of Damietta “ Its walls 
are sweetmeats and its dogs are sheep.” Anyone 
who enters the city may not afterwards leave it except 
by the governor’s seal. Persons of repute have a 
seal damped on a piece of paper so that they may 
show it to the gatekeepers; other persons have the seal 
damped on their forearms. In this city there are 
many seabirds with extremely greasy flesh, and the 
milk of its buffaloes is unequalled for sweetness and 
pleasant ta^Ie. The fish called bfiri^ is exported 
thence to Syria, Anatolia, and Cairo. The present 
town is of recent con^lruftion; the old city was that 
de^royed by the Franks in the time of al-Malik 

From Damietta I travelled to Fdriskiir, which is 
a town on the bank of the Nile, and halted outside 
it. Here I was overtaken by a horseman who had 
been sent after me by the governor of Damietta. He 
handed me a number of coins, saying to me “ The 
Governor asked for you, and on being informed about 
you, he sent you this gift ” — ^may God reward him ! 
Thence I travelled to Ashmdn, a large and ancient 
town on a canal derived from the Nile. It possesses 
a wooden bridge at which all vessels anchor, and in 
the afternoon the baulks are lifted and the vessels 
pass up and down. From here I went to Samanniid, 
whence I journeyed up^ream to Cairo, between a 

49 ® 


continuous succession of towns and villages. The 
traveller on the Nile need take no provision with him, 
because whenever he desires to descend on the bank 
he may do so, for ablutions, prayers, provisioning, or 
any other purpose. There is an uninterrupted chain 
of bazaars from Alexandria to Cairo, and from Cairo 
to Assuan in Upper Egypt. 

I arrived at length at Cairo, mother of cities and 
seat of Pharaoh the tyrant, mi^ress of broad regions 
and fruitful lands, boundless in multitude of buildings, 
peerless in beauty and splendour, the meeting-place 
of comer and goer, the halting-place of feeble and 
mighty, whose throngs surge as the waves of the sea, 
and can scarce be contained in her for all her size 
and capacity.” It is said that in Cairo there are 
twelve thousand water-carriers who transport water on 
camels, and thirty thousand hirers of mules and 
donkeys, and that on the Nile there are thirty-six 
thousand boats belonging to the Sultan and his sub- 
je£ls, which sail upstream to Upper Egypt and down- 
^ream to Alexandria and Damietta, laden with goods 
and profitable merchandise of all kinds. On the 
bank of the Nile opposite Old Cairo is the place known 
as The Garden,^ which is a pleasure park and prome- 
nade, containing many beautiful gardens, for the 
people of Cairo are given to pleasure and amusements. 
I witnessed a fSte once in Cairo for the sultan’s re- 
covery from a fradlured hand; all the merchants 
decorated their bazaars and had rich fluffs, ornaments 
and silken fabrics hanging in their shops for several 
days. The mosque of ‘Amr is highly venerated and 
widely celebrated. The Friday service is held in it, 
and the road runs through it from ea^l to weft. The 
madrasas [college mosques] of Cairo cannot be counted 
for multitude. As for the Miriftin [hospital], which 
lies “ between the two caftles ” near the mausoleum 
of Sultan Qali'dn, no description is adequate to its 



beauties. It contains an innumerable quantity of 
appliances and medicaments, and its daily revenue is 
put as high as a thousand dinars.'® 

There are a large number of religious establishments 
[“ convents ”], which they call khanqahs, and the 
nobles vie with one another in building them. Each 
of these is set apart for a separate school of darwishes, 
moStly Persians, who are men of good education and 
adepts in the mySlical doftrines. Each has a superior 
and a doorkeeper and their affairs are admirably or- 
ganized. They have many special cuStoms, one of 
which has to do with their food. The Steward of 
the house comes in the morning to the darwishes, 
each of whom indicates what food he desires, and when 
they assemble for meals, each person is given his 
bread and soup in a separate dish, none sharing with 
another. They eat twice a day. They are each given 
winter clothes and summer clothes, and a monthly 
allowance of from twenty to thirty dirhams. Every 
Thursday night they receive sugar cakes, soap to 
wash their clothes, the price of a bath, and oil for their 
lamps. These men are celibate; the married men have 
separate convents. 

At Cairo too is the great cemetery of al-Qardfa, 
which is a place of peculiar sanftity, and contains the 
graves of innumerable scholars and pious believers. 
In the Qar4fa the people build beautiful pavilions 
surrounded by walls, so that they look like houses.^ 
They also build chambers and hire Koran-readers, 
who recite night and day in agreeable voices. Some 
of them build religious houses and madrasas beside 
the mausoleums and on Thursday nights they go out 
to spend the night there with their children and women- 
folk, and make a circuit of the famous tombs. They 
go out to spend the night there also on the “ Night 
of mid-Sha‘bdn,” and the market-people take out all 
kinds of eatables.®^ Among the many celebrated 



sandluaries [in the city] is the holy shrine where there 
reposes the head of al-Husayn.^^ Beside it is a vadl 
monadlery of ftriking conilrudlion, on the doors of 
which there are silver rings and plates of the same 

-f The Egyptian Nile*® surpasses all rivers of the earth 
in sweetness of ta^le, length of course, and utility. 
No other river in the world can show such a con- 
tinuous series of towns and villages along its banks, 
or a basin so intensely cultivated. Its course is from 
south to north, contrary to all the other [great] rivers. 
One extraordinary thing about it is that it begins to 
rise in the extreme hot weather, at the time when 
rivers generally diminish and dry up, and begins to 
subside juft when rivers begin to increase and over- 
flow. The river Indus resembles it in this feature. 
The Nile is one of the five great rivers of the world, 
which are the Nile, Euphrates, Tigris, Syr Darya and 
Amu Darya; five other rivers resemble these, the Indus, 
which is called Pan] Ab [i.e. Five Rivers], the river 
of India which is called Gang [Ganges] — it is to it 
that the Hindus go on pilgrimage, and when they 
burn their dead they throw the ashes into it, and they 
say that it comes from Paradise — ^the river Jiin [Jumna, 
or perhaps Brahmaputra] in India, the river Itil 
[Volga] in the Qipchaq steppes, on the banks of which 
is the city of Sard, and the river Sard [Hoang-Ho] 
in the land of Cathay. All these will be mentioned 
in their proper places, if God will. Some diftance 
below Cairo the Nile divides into three ftreams,®^ 
none of which can be crossed except by boat, winter 
or summer. The inhabitants of every township have 
canals led off the Nile; these are filled when the river 
is in flood and carry the water over the fields. 

From Cairo I travelled into Upper Egypt, with the 
intention of crossing to the Hijdz. On the firft night 
I ftayed at the monaftery of Dayr at-Tin, which was 

5 ^ 


built to house certain illustrious relics — a fragment of 
the Prophet’s wooden basin and the pencil with which 
he used to apply kohl, the awl he used for sewing his 
sandals, and the Koran belonging to the Caliph ‘Ali 
written in his own hand. These were bought, it is 
said, for a hundred thousand dirhams by the builder 
of the monastery, who also established funds to supply 
food to all comers and to maintain the guardians of 
the sacred relics. Thence my way lay through a 
number of towns and villages to Munyat Ibn Khasib 
[Minia], a large town which is built on the bank of 
the Nile, and moSt emphatically excels all the other 
towns of Upper Egypt. I went on through Man- 
falht, Asyiit, Ikhmim, where there is a beria^ with 
sculptures and inscriptions which no one can now 
read — another of these herb as there was pulled down 
and its Slones used to build a madrasa — Qina, Qils, 
where the governor of Upper Egypt resides, Luxor, 
a pretty littie town containing the tomb of the pious 
ascetic Abu’l-Hajjaj,^ Esna, and thence a day and a 
night’s journey through desert country to Edfii. Here 
we crossed the Nile and, hiring camels, journeyed 
with a party of Arabs through a desert, totally devoid 
of settlements but quite safe for travelling. One of 
our halts was at Humaythira, a place infeSled with 
hyenas. All night long we kept driving them away, 
and indeed one got at my baggage, tore open one of 
the sacks, pulled out a bag or dates, and made oflF 
with it. We found the bag next morning, torn to 
pieces and with most of the contents eaten. 

After fifteen days’ travelling we reached the town 
of Aydbab,^*^ a large town, well supplied with milk 
and fish; dates and grain are imported from Upper 
Egypt. Its inhabitants are Bejds. These people 
are black-skinned; they wrap themselves in yellow 
blankets and tie headbands about a fingerbreadth 
wide round their heads. They do not give their 



daughters any share in their inheritance. They live 
on camels’ milk and they ride on Meharis [drome- 
daries]. One-third of the city belongs to the Sultan 
of Egypt and two-thirds to the King of the Bejas, 
who is called al-Hudrubi.^® On reaching Aydhdb 
we found that al-Hudrubi was engaged in warfare with 
the Turks \i.e. the troops of the Sultan of Egypt], 
that he had sunk the ships and that the Turks had 
fled before him. It was impossible for us to attempt 
the sea-crossing, so we sold the provisions that we 
had made ready for it, and returned to Qiis with the 
Arabs from whom we had hired the camels. We 
sailed thence down the Nile (it was at the flood time) 
and after an eight days’ journey reached Cairo, where 
I stayed only one night, and immediately set out for 
Syria. This was in the middle of July, 1326. 

My route lay through Bilbays and as-Sllihiya, after 
which we entered the sands and halted at a number 
of Nations. At each of these there was a hostelry, 
which they call a khdn^’^ where travellers alight with 
their beasts. Each khan has a water wheel supplying 
a fountain and a shop at which the traveller buys what 
he requires for himself and his beaft. At the Elation 
of Qaty4*° cu^loms-dues are collefted from the mer- 
chants, and their goods and baggage are thoroughly 
examined and searched. There are offices here, with 
officers, clerks, and notaries, and the daily revenue is 
a thousand gold dinars. No one is allowed to pass 
into Syria without a passport from Egypt, nor into 
Egypt without a passport from Syria, for the pro- 
teftion of the property of the subjedls and as a measure 
of precaution againil spies from ‘Irdq. The responsi- 
bility of guarding this road has been entrusted to the 
Badawin. At hightfall they smooth down the sand 
so that no track is left on it, then in the morning the 
governor comes and looks at the sand. If he finds 
any track on it he commands the Arabs to bring the 


travels of IBN BATTUTA 

person who made it, and they set out in pursuit and 
never fail to catch him. He is then brought to the 
governor, who punishes him as he sees fit. The 
governor at the time of my passage treated me as 
a gueil and showed me great kindness, and allowed 
all those who were with me to pass. From here we 
went on to Gaza, which is the firft city of Syria on the 
side next the Egyptian frontier. 

From Gaza I travelled to the city of Abraham 
[Hebron], the mosque of which is of elegant, but 
substantial, conSlruftion, imposing and lofty, and 
built of squared Stones. At one angle of it there is 
a Stone, one of whose faces measures twenty-seven 
spans. It is said that Solomon commanded theyi««®^ 
to build it. Inside it is the sacred cave containing 
the graves of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, opposite 
which are three graves, which are those of their wives. 
I questioned the imdm, a man of great piety and learn- 
ing, on the authenticity of these graves, and he replied : 
“ All the scholars whom I have met hold these graves 
to be the very graves of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and 
their wives. No one questions this except introducers 
of false doftrines; it is a tradition which has passed 
from father to son for generations and admits of no 
doubt.” This mosque contains also the grave of 
Joseph, and somewhat to the eaSt of it lies the tomb 
of Lot,®“ which is surmounted by an elegant building. 
In the neighbourhood is Lot’s lake [the Dead Sea], 
which is brackish and is said to cover the site of 
the settlements of Lot’s people. On the way from 
Hebron to Jerusalem, I visited Bethlehem, the birth- 
place of Jesus. The site is covered by a large build- 
ing; the Chriftians regard it with intense veneration 
and hospitably entertain all who alight at it. 

We then reached Jerusalem (may God ennoble 
her !), third in excellence after the two holy shrines 
of Mecca and Madina, and the place whence the 



Prophet was caught up into heaven.®® Its walls were 
destroyed by the illuilrious King Saladin and his 
successors,®*' for fear le^t the Chri^ians should seize 
it and fortify themselves in it. The sacred mosque 
is a mo^ beautiful building, and is said to be the larged 
mosque in the world. Its length from ea^ to weit is 
put at 752 “ royal ” cubits®® and its breadth at 435. 
On three sides it has many entrances, but on the 
south side I know of one only, which is that by which 
the imdm enters. The entire mosque is an open 
court and unroofed, except the mosque al-Aqsa, which 
has a roof of mo^ excellent workmanship, embellished 
with gold and brilliant colours. Some other parts 
of the mosque are roofed as well. The Dome of the 
Rock is a building of extraordinary beauty, solidity, 
elegance, and singularity of shape. It stands on an 
elevation in the centre of the mosque and is reached 
by a flight of marble ^eps. It has four doors. The 
space round it is also paved with marble, excellently 
done, and the interior likewise. Both outside ana 
inside the decoration is so magniflcent and the work- 
manship so surpassing as to defy description. The 
greater part is covered with gold so that the eyes of 
one who gazes on its beauties are dazzled by its bril- 
liance, now glowing like a mass of light, now flashing 
like lightning. In the centre of the Dome is the 
blessed rock from which the Prophet ascended to 
heaven, a great rock projefting about a man’s height, 
and underneath it there is a cave the size of a small 
room, also of a man’s height, with ^eps leading down 
to it. Encircling the rock are two railings of excellent 
workmanship, the one nearer the rock being artiftically 
con^rufted in iron,®® and the other of wood. 

Among the grace-beilowing sanftuaries of Jeru- 
salem is a building, situated on the farther side of the 
valley called the valley of Jahannam [Gehenna] to 
the eaft of the town, on a high hill. This building is 



said to mark the place whence Jesus ascended to 
heaven.®^ In the bottom of the same valley is a 
church venerated by the Chriftians, who say that it 
contains the grave of Mary. In the same place there 
is another church which the Christians venerate and 
to which they come on pilgrimage. This is the 
church of which they are falsely persuaded to believe 
that it contains the grave of Jesus. All who come on 
pilgrimage to visit it pay a Stipulated tax to the 
Muslims, and suffer very unwillingly various humilia- 
tions. Thereabouts also is the place of the cradle 
of Jesus,®® which is visited in order to obtain blessing. 

I journeyed thereafter from Jerusalem to the fortress 
of Askalon, which is a total ruin. Of the great mosque, 
known as the mosque of ‘Omar, nothing remains but 
its walls and some marble columns of matchless 
beauty, partly landing and partly fallen. Amongst 
them is a wonderful red column, of which the people 
tell that the Chri^ians carried it off to their country 
but afterwards loil it, when it was found in its place 
at Askalon. Thence I went on to the city of ar-Ram- 
lah, which is also called Fila^lfn [Paleftine], in the 
qihla of those mosque they say three hundred of the 
prophets are buried. From ar-Ramlah I went to the 
town of Ndbulus [Shechem], a city with an abundance 
of trees and perennial breams, and one of the richer 
in Syria for olives, the oil of which is exported thence 
to Cairo and Damascus. It is at Nibulus that the 
carob-sweet is manufa£lured and exported to Damascus 
and elsewhere. It is made in this way: the carobs 
are cooked and then pressed, the juice that runs out 
is gathered and the sweet is manufactured from it. 
The juice itself too is exported to Cairo and Damascus. 
Nabidus has also a species of melon which is called 
by its name, a good and delicious fruit. Thence I 
went to Ajaldn®® making in the direftion of Ladhiqiya, 
and passing through the Ghawr, followed the coalt to 



‘Akka [Acre], which is in ruins. Acre was formerly 
the capital and port of the country of the Franks in 
Syria, and rivalled Con^antinople itself. 

I went on from here to Siir [Tyre], which is a ruin, 
though there is outside it an inhabited village, moft 
of whose population belong to the seft called 
“ Refusers.” It is this city of Tyre which has become 
proverbial for impregnability, because the sea sur- 
rounds it on three sides and it has two gates, one on 
the landward side and one to the sea. That on the 
landward side is protefted by four outer walls each 
with breaftworks, while the sea gate Elands between 
two great towers. There is no more marvellous or 
more remarkable piece of masonry in the world than 
this, for the sea surrounds it on three sides and on 
the fourth there is a wall under which the ships pass 
and come to anchor. In former times an iron chain 
was stretched between the two towers to form a barrier, 
so that there was no way in or out until it was lowered. 
It was placed under the charge of guards and trust- 
worthy agents, and none might enter or leave without 
their knowledge. Acre also had a harbour resembling 
it, but it admitted only small ships. From Tyre I 
went on to Saydd [Sidon], a pleasant town on the 
coaSt, and rich in fruit; it exports figs, raisins, and olive 
oil to Cairo. 

Next I went on to the town of Tabarfya [Tiberias].'" 
It was formerly a large and important city, of which 
nothing now remains but veSliges witnessing to its 
former greatness. It possesses wonderful baths with 
separate establishments for men and women, the water 
of which is very hot. At Tiberias is the famous lake 
[the Sea of Galilee], about eighteen miles long and 
more than nine in breadth. The town has a mosque 
known as the “ Mosque of the Prophets,” containing 
the graves of Shu'ayb [Jethro] and his daughter, the 
wife of Moses, as well as those of Solomon, Judah, 


travels of IBN BATTUTA 

and Reuben. From Tiberias we went to visit the 
well into which Joseph was caft, a large and deep well, 
in the courtyard of a small mosque, and drank some 
water from it. It was rain water, but the guardian 
told us that there is a spring in it as well. We went 
on from there to Baynit, a small town with fine markets 
and a beautiful mosque. Fruit and iron are exported 
from it to Egypt. 

We set out from here to visit the tomb of Ab\i 
Ya'qiib Ydsuf, who, they say, was a king in North- 
weft Africa. The tomb is at a place called Karak 
Ndh,'*’ and beside it is a religious house at which all 
travellers are entertained. Some say that it was the 
Sultan Saladin who endowed it, others that it was the 
Sultan Ndr ad-Din. The ftory goes that Abd Ya'qdb, 
after ftaying some time at Damascus with the Sultan, 
who had been warned in a dream that Abd Ya'qdb 
would bring him some advantage, left the town in 
solitary flight during a season of great coldness, and 
came to a village in its neighbourhood. In this village 
there was a man of humble ftation who invited him 
to ftay in his house, and on his consenting, made him 
soup and killed a chicken and brought it to him with 
barley bread. After his meal Abd Ya'qdb prayed 
for a blessing on his hoft. Now this man had several 
children, one of them being a girl who was shortly 
to be condufted to her husband. It is a cuftom in 
that country that a girl’s father gives her an outfit, 
the greater part of which consifts in copper utensils. 
These are regarded by them with great pride and are 
made the subjeft of special ftipulations in the marriage 
contraft. Abd Ya'qdb therefore said to the man, 
“ Have you any copper utensils “ Yes ” he replied, 
“ I have juft bought some for my daughter’s outfit.” 
Abd Ya'qdb told him to bring them and when he had 
brought them said “ Now borrow all that you can 
from your neighbours.” So he did so and laid them 



all before him. He then lit fires round them, and 
taking out a purse which he had containing an elixir, 
threw some of it over the brass, and the whole array 
was changed into gold. Leaving these in a locked 
chamber, Abd Ya'qiib wrote to Ndr ad-Din at 
Damascus, telling him about them, and exhorting him 
to build and endow a hospital for sick Grangers and 
to conftrudl religious houses on the highways. He 
bade him also satisfy the owners of the copper vessels 
and provide for the maintenance of the owner of the 
house. The latter took the letter to the king, who 
came to the village and removed the gold, after satis- 
fying the owners of the vessels and the man himself. 
He searched for Abd Ya'qdb, but failing to find any 
trace or news of him, returned to Damascus, where he 
built the hospital which is known by his name and is 
the finest in the world. 

I came next to the city of Atrdbulus [Tripoli], one 
of the principal towns in Syria. It lies two miles 
inland, and has only recently been built. The old 
town was right on the shore; the ChriSians held it for 
a time, and when it was recovered by Svdtan Baybars^ 
it was pulled down and this new town built. There 
are some fine bath-houses in it, one of which is called 
after Sindamdr, who was a former governor of the 
city. Many Tories are told of his severity to evil- 
doers. Here is one of them. A woman complained 
to him that one of the mamldks of his personal ilaff 
had seized some milk that she was selling and had 
drunk it. She had no evidence, but Sindamdr sent 
for the man. He was cut in two, and the milk came 
out of his entrails. Similar Tories are told of al- 
Atris at the time when he was governor of Aydhdb 
under Sultan Qald’dn, and of Kebek, the Sultan of 

From Tripoli I went by way of Hisn al-Akrdd 
[Krak des Chevaliers, now Qal'at al-Hisn] and Hims 



to Hamdh, another of the metropolitan cities of Syria. 
It is surrounded by orchards and gardens, in the 
mid^t of which there are waterwheels like revolving 
globes. Thence to Ma'arra, which lies in a diftrift 
inhabited by some sort of Shi'ites, abominable people 
who hate the Ten Companions and every person 
whose name is ‘Omar.^ We went on from there to 
Sarmin, where brick soap is manufadbired and ex- 
ported to Cairo and Damascus. Besides this they 
manufafture perfumed soap, for washing hands, and 
colour it red and yellow. These people too are re- 
vilers, who hate the Ten, and — an extraordinary thing 
— never mention the word ten. When their brokers 
are selling by auftion in the markets and come to ten, 
they say “ nine and one.” One day a Turk happened 
to be there, and hearing a broker call “ nine and one,” 
he laid his club about his head saying “ Say ‘ ten,' ” 
whereupon quoth he “ Ten with the club.” We 
journeyed thence to Halab [Aleppo],'*® which is the 
seat of the Malik al-Umard, who is the principal 
commander under the sultan of Egypt. He is a 
jurist and has a reputation for fair-dealing, but he is 

I went on from there to Antakfya [Antioch], by 
way of Tizln, a new town founded by the Turkmens.'*® 
Antioch was protedled formerly by a wall of unrivalled 
solidity among the cities of Syria, but al-MaJik az- 
Zahir [Baybars] pulled it down when he captured the 
town.*'^ It is very densely populated and possesses 
beautiful buildings, with abundant trees and water. 
Thence I visited the fortress of Baghrds,*® at the en- 
trance to the land of Sis [Little Armenia], that is, the 
land of the Armenian infidels, and many other cattles 
and fortresses, several of which belong to a seft called 
Isma'ilites or Fidawls*® and may be entered by none 
but members of the seft. They are the arrows of the 
sultan ; by means of them he strikes those of his enemies 



who escape into Triq and other lands. They receive 
iixed salaries, and when the sultan desires to send one 
of them to assassinate one of his enemies, he pays 
him his blood-money. If after carrying out his 
allotted task he escapes with his life, the money is 
his, but if he is killed it goes to his sons. They carry 
poisoned daggers, with which they strike their viftim, 
but sometimes their plans miscarry and they themselves 
are killed. 

From the cables of the Fiddwis I went on to the 
town of Jabala, which lies on the coa^, about a mile 
inland. It contains the grave of the famous saint 
Ibrihim ibn Adham, he who renounced a kingdom 
and consecrated himself to God.®° All visitors to this 
grave give a candle to the keeper, with the result that 
many hundredweights of them are colleAed. The 
majority of the people of this coaftal di^trift belong 
to the se£t of the Nusayris, who believe that ‘All®^ is 
a God. They do not pray, nor do they purify them- 
selves, nor fail. Al-Malik az-Z4hir [Baybars] com- 
pelled them to build mosques in their villages, so in 
every village they put up a mosque far away from 
their houses, and they neither enter them nor keep 
them in repair. Often they are used for refuges for 
their cattle and asses. Often too a Granger comes 
to their country and he ^lops at the mosque and recites 
the call to prayer and then they call out “ Stop braying; 
your fodder is coming to you.” There are a great 
many of these people. 

They tell a ^ory that an unknown person arrived 
in the country of this seft and gave himself out as the 
Mahdi. They flocked round him, and he promised 
them the possession of the land and divided Syria up 
between them. He used to nominate them each to 
a town and tell them to go there, giving them olive- 
leaves and saying “ Take these as tokens of success, 
for they are as warrants of your appointment.” When 


any one of them came to a town, the governor sent 
for him, and the man would say “ The Imim al-Mahdi 
has given me this town.” The governor would reply 
“ "Wnere is your warrant ?” and he would produce the 
olive-leaves, and be punished and put in prison. 
Later on he ordered them to make ready to fight with 
the Muslims and to begin with the town of Jabala. 
He told them to take myrtle rods inftead of swords 
and promised them that these would become swords 
in their hands at the moment of the battle. They made 
a surprise attack on Jabala while the inhabitants were 
attending a Friday service in the mosque, and entered 
the houses and dishonoured the women. The Muslims 
came rushing out of their mosque, seized weapons, and 
killed them as they pleased. When the news was 
brought to Ladhiqiya the governor moved out with 
his troops, and the news having been sent by carrier- 
pigeons to Tripoli, the chief commandant joined him 
with his troops. The Nusayris were pursued until 
about twenty thousand of them had been killed. The 
remainder fortified themselves in the hills and sent a 
message to the chief commandant, undertaking to 
pay him one dinar per head if he would spare them. 
The news had been sent by pigeons to the Sultan, 
who replied ordering them to be put to the sword. 
The chief commandant, however, represented to him 
that these people were tillers of the soil for the Muslims 
and that if they were killed the Muslims would suflFer 
in consequence, so their lives were spared. 

I went next to the town of Lddhiqiya [Latakia]. 
In the outskirts is a Chri^ian monailery known as 
Dayr al-Firiis, which is the largeil mona^lery in Syria 
and Egypt. It is inhabited by monks, and Christians 
visit it from all quarters. All who Slop there, Muslims 
or Christians, are entertained; their food is bread, 
cheese, olives, vinegar and capers. The harbour of 
Lddhiqlya is protefted by a chain between two towers, 



so that no ship can either enter or leave it until the 
chain is lowered for it. It is one of the be^ harbours 
in Syria. From there I went to the fortress of al- 
Marqab [Belvedere], a great fortress resembling 
Karak. It is built on a high hill and outside it is 
a suburb where Grangers ilop. They are not allowed 
to enter the ca^lle. It was captured from the Chri^ians 
by al-Malik al-Mansiir Qalaiin, and close by it was 
born his son al-Malik an-Nisir [the reigning sultan 
of Egypt]. * Thence I went to the mountain of 
al-Aqra‘, which is the higheft mountain in Syria, and 
the firft part of the country visible from the sea. The 
inhabitants of this mountain-range are Turkmens, and 
it contains springs and running streams. I went on 
from there to the mountains of Lubnan [Lebanon]. 
These are among the moil fertile mountains on earth, 
with all sorts of fruits and springs of water and shady 
coverts. There are always large numbers of devotees 
and ascetics to be found in these mountains (the place is 
noted for this) and I saw a company of anchorites there. 

We came next to the town of Ba'albek, an old town 
and one of the hneil in Syria, rivalling Damascus in 
its innumerable amenities. No other diilrifl has such 
an abundance of cherries, and many kinds of sweet- 
meats are manufaflured in it, as well as textiles, and 
wooden vessels and spoons that cannot be equalled 
elsewhere. They make a series of plates one within 
the other to as many as ten in all, yet anyone looking 
at it would take them to be one plate. They do the 
same with spoons, and put them in a leather case. 
A man can carry this in his belt, and on joining in 
a meal with his friends take out what looks like one 
spoon and distribute nine others from within it. 
Ba'albek is one day’s journey from Damascus by hard 
going ; caravans on leaving Ba'albek spend a night at a 
small village called az^Zabdinf and go on to Damascus 
the following morning. I reached Ba'albek in the 



evening and left it next morning because of my eager- 
ness to get to Damascus. 

I entered Damascus on Thursday 9th Ramaddn 726 
[9th August, 1326], and lodged at the Malikite 
college called ash-Sharibishiya. Damascus surpasses 
all other cities in beauty, and no description, how- 
ever full, can do juilice to its charms. Nothing, 
however, can better the words of I bn Jubayr in 
describing it.“i>*The Cathedral Mosque, known as the 
Umayyad Mosque, is the moil magnificent mosque 
in the world, the fineil in conilruftion and nobleil in 
beauty, grace and perfeftion; it is matchless and un- 
equalled. The person who undertook its conftruc- 
tion was the Caliph Walfd I. [ 7 o 5 “ 7 ^ 5 ]* He applied 
to the Roman Emperor at Conilantinople ordering 
him to send craftsmen to him, and the Emperor sent 
him twelve thousand of them. The site of the mosque 
was a church, and when the Muslims captured 
Damascus, one of their commanders entered from one 
side by the sword and reached as far as the middle of 
the church, while the other entered peaceably from 
the eailern side and reached the middle also. So the 
Muslims made the half of the church which they had 
entered by force into a mosque and the half which 
they had entered by peacefial agreement remained as 
a church. When Walfd decided to extend the mosque 
over the entire church he asked the Greeks to sell him 
their church for whatsoever equivalent they desired, 
but they refused, so he seized it. The Chriftians used 
to say that whoever deftroyed the church would be 
^ricken with madness and they told that to Walfd. 
But he replied “ I shall be the firft to be stricken 
by madness in the service of God,” and seizing an 
axe, he set to work to knock it down with his own 
hands. The Muslims on seeing that followed his 
example, and God proved false the assertion of the 



This mosque has four doors, The southern door, 
called the “ Door of Increase,” is approached by a 
spacious passage where the dealers in second-hand 
goods and other commodities have their shops. 
Through it lies the way to the [former] Cavalry 
House, and on the left as one emerges from it is the 
coppersmiths’ gallery, a large bazaar, one of the finest 
in Damascus, extending along the south wall of the 
mosque. This bazaar occupies the site of the palace 
of the Caliph Mu'dwiya I.,®^ which was called al- 
Khadrd [The Green Palace]; the ‘Abbdsids pulled it 
down and a bazaar took its place. The eastern door, 
called the Jaynin door, is the largest of the doors of 
the mosque. It also has a large passage, leading out 
to a large and extensive colonnade which is entered 
through a quintuple gateway between six tall columns, 
^ong both sides of this passage are pillars, supporting 
circular galleries, where the cloth merchants amongft 
others have their shops; above these again are long 
galleries in which are the shops of the jewellers and 
booksellers and makers of admirable glass-ware. In 
the square adjoining the fiiil door are the flails of 
the principal notaries, in each of which there may be 
five or six witnesses in attendance and a person 
authorized by the qidi to perform marriage-ceremonies. 
The other notaries are scattered throughout the city. 
Near these flails is the bazaar of the flationers, who 
sell paper, pens, and ink. In the middle of the passage 
there is a large round marble basin, surrounded by 
a pavilion supported on marble columns but lacking 
a roof. In the centre of the basin is a copper pipe 
which forces out water under pressure so that it rises 
into the air more than a man’s height. They call it 
“The Waterspout,” and it is a fine sight. To the 
right as one comes out of the JaynSn door, which is 
called also the “ Door of the Hours,” is an upper 
gallery shaped like a large arch, within which there 



are small open arches furnished with doors, to the 
number of the hours of the day. These doors are 
painted green on the inside and yellow on the outside, 
and as each hour of the day passes the green inner 
side of the door is turned to the outside, and vice 
versa. They say that inside the gallery there is a 
person in the room who is responsible for turning 
them by hand as the hours pass.®^ The western door 
is called the “ Door of the Foil the passage outside 
it contains the shops of the candlemakers and a gallery 
for the sale of fruit. The northern door is called the 
“ Door of the Confeftioners ” ; it too has a large 
passageway, and on the right as one leaves it is a 
khdnqdh^ which has a large basin of water in the centre 
and lavatories supplied with running water. At each 
of the four doors of the mosque is a building for 
ritual ablutions, containing about a hundred rooms 
abundantly supplied with running water. 

One of the principal Hanbalite do£l;ors at Damascus 
was Taql ad-Din Ibn Taymfya, a man of great ability 
and wide learning, but with some kink in his brain. 
The people of Damascus idolized him. He used to 
preach to them from the pulpit, and one day he made 
some ^atement that the other theologians disap- 
proved; they carried the case to the sultan and in 
consequence Ibn Taymiya was imprisoned for some 
years. While he was in prison he wrote a com- 
mentary on the Koran, which he called “ The Ocean,” 
in about forty volumes. Later on his mother pre- 
sented herseli before the sultan and interceded for 
him, so he was set at liberty, until he did the same 
thing again. I was in Damascus at the time and 
attended the service which he was conducing one 
Friday, as he was addressing and admonishing the 
people from the pulpit. In the midft of his discourse 
he said “Verily God descends to the sky over our 
world [from Heaven] in the same bodily fashion that 


I make this descent,” and Pepped down one ftep of 
the pulpit. A Malikite doftor present contradifted 
him and objefted to his ilatement,®® but the common 
people rose up against this doftor, and beat him with 
their hands and their shoes so severely that his turban 
fell off and disclosed a silken skull-cap on his head. 
Inveighing again^ him for wearing this,®'' they haled 
him before the qadi of the Hanbalites, who ordered 
him to be imprisoned and afterwards had him beaten. 
The other doftors objefted to this treatment and carried 
the matter before the principal amir, who wrote to the 
sultan about the matter and at the same time drew 
up a legal atte^ation against Ibn Taymiya for various 
heretical pronouncements. This deed was sent on 
to the sultan, who gave orders that Ibn Taymiya 
should be imprisoned in the citadel, and there he 
remained until his death.®® 

One of the celebrated sanfluaries at Damascus is 
the Mosque of the Footprints (al-Aqddm), which lies 
two miles south of the city, alongside the main high- 
way which leads to the Hijdz, Jerusalem, and Egypt. 
It is a large mosque, very blessed, richly endowed, 
and very highly venerated by the Damascenes. The 
footprints from which it derives its name are certain 
footprints impressed upon a rock there, which are 
said to be the mark of Moses’ foot. In this mosque 
there is a small chamber containing a ffone with the 
following inscription “A certain pious man saw in 
his sleep the Chosen One [Muhammad], who said to 
him ‘ Here is the grave of my brother Moses.’ ” I 
saw a remarkable instance of the veneration in which 
the Damascenes hold this mosque during the great 
peftilence, on my return journey through Damascus 
in the latter part of July 1348. The viceroy Arghdn 
Shdh ordered a crier to proclaim through IDamascus 
that all the people should faff: for three days and that 
no one should cook anything eatable in the market 



during the daytime.®® For mo^l of the people there 
eat no food but what has been prepared in the market.®* 
So the people fafted for three successive days, the la^l 
of which was a Thursday, then they assembled in the 
Great Mosque, amirs, sharifs, qadis, theologians, and 
all the other classes of the people, until the place was 
filled to overflowing, and there they spent the Thursday 
night in prayers and litanies. After the dawn prayer 
next morning they all went out together on foot, holding 
Korans in their hands, and the amirs barefooted. 
The procession was joined by the entire population 
of the town, men and women, small and large; the 
Jews came with their Book of the Law and the Chris- 
tians with their Gospel, all of them with their women 
and children. The whole concourse, weeping and 
supplicating and seeking the favour of God through 
His Books and His Prophets, made their way to the 
Mosque of the Footprints, and there they remained 
in supplication and invocation until near midday. 
They then returned to the city and held the Friday 
service, and God lightened their aflliffion; for the 
number of deaths in a single day at Damascus did 
not attain two thousand, while in Cairo and Old Cairo 
it reached the figure of twenty-four thousand a day. 

The variety and expenditure of the religious endow- 
ments at Damascus are beyond computation. There 
are endowments in aid of persons who cannot under- 
take the pilgrimage to Mecca,, out of which are paid 
the expenses of those who go in their ^lead. There 
are other endowments for supplying wedding outfits 
to girls whose families are unable to provide them, 
and others for the freeing of prisoners. There 
are endowments for travellers, out of the revenues 
of which they are given food, clothing, and the ex- 
penses of conveyance to their countries. Then there 
are endowments for the improvement and paving of 
the Greets, because all the lanes in Damascus have 



pavements on either side, on which the foot passengers 
walk, while those who ride use the roadway in the 
centre. Besides these there are endowments for other 
charitable purposes. One day as I went along a lane 
in Damascus I saw a small slave who had dropped 
a Chinese porcelain dish, which was broken to bits. 
A number of people collefled round him and one of 
them said to him, “ Gather up the pieces and take 
them to the cu^odian of the endowments for utensils.” 
He did so, and the man went with him to the custodian, 
where the slave showed the broken pieces and received 
a sum sufficient to buy a similar dish. This is an 
excellent in^itution, for the ma^er of the slave would 
undoubtedly have beaten him, or at leaif scolded him, 
for breaking the dish, and the slave would have been 
heartbroken and upset at the accident. This bene- 
fadlion is indeed a mender of hearts — may God richly 
reward him whose zeal for good works rose to such 
heights ! 

The people of Damascus vie with one another in 
building mosques, religious houses, colleges and 
mausoleums. They have a high opinion of the North 
Africans, and freely entru^ them with the care of 
their moneys, wives, and children. All Grangers 
among^ them are handsomely treated, and care is 
taken that they are not forced to any aflion that might 
injure their self-respeft. When I came to Damascus 
a firm friendship sprang up between the Milikite 
professor Ndr ad-Dln Sal^iwi and me, and he besought 
me to breakfa^ at his house during the nights of 
Ramaddn. After I had visited him for four nights 
I had a stroke of fever and absented myself. He sent 
in search of me, and although I pleaded my illness in 
excuse he refused to accept it. I went back to his 
house and spent the night there, and when 1 desired 
to take my leave the next morning he would not hear 
of it, but said to me “ Consider my house as your 



own or as your father’s or brother’s.” He then had 
a doftor sent for, and gave orders that all the medicines 
and dishes that the doitor prescribed were to be made 
for me in his house. I ftayed thus with him until 
the Fa^l-breaking, when I went to the fe^ival prayers 
and God healed me of what had befallen me. Mean- 
while all the money I had for my expenses was ex- 
hauAed. Ndr ad-Din, learning this, hired camels 
for me and gave me travelling and other provisions, 
and money in addition, saying “ It will come in for 
any serious matter that may land you in difficulties ” — 
may God reward him 1 

The Damascenes observe an admirable order in 
funeral processions. They walk in front of the bier, 
while reciters intone the Koran in beautiful and affiedf- 
ing voices, and pray over it in the Cathedral mosque. 
V^en the reading is completed the muezzins rise and 
say “ Refleft on your prayer for so-and-so, the pious 
and learned,” describing him with good epithets, and 
having prayed over him they take him to his grave. 
The Indians have a funeral ceremony even more 
admirable than this. On the morning of the third 
day after the burial they assemble in the burial- 
place of the deceased, which is spread with fine cloths, 
the grave being covered with magnificent hangings 
and surrounded by sweet-scented flowers, roses, eglan- 
tine, and jasmine, for these flowers are perennial with 
them. They bring lemon and citrus trees as well, 
tying on their fruits if they have none, an<^ut up an 
awning to shade the mourning party. Ine q^i's, 
amirs and other persons of rank come and take their 
seats, and after recitation of the Koran, the qidi rises 
and delivers a set oration, speaking of the deceased, 
and mourning his death in an elegiac ode, then com- 
forting his relatives, and praying for the sultan. When 
the sultan’s name is mentioned the audience rise and 
bow their heads towards the quarter in which the 



sultan is. The qadi then resumes his seat, and rose- 
water is brought in and sprinkled on all the people, 
beginning with the qddi. After this syrup is brought 
in and served to everyone, beginning with the qidi. 
Finally the betel is brought. This they hold in high 
esteem, and give to their guefts as a mark of respeft; 
a gift of betel from the sultan is a greater honour than 
a gift of money or robes of honour. When a man dies 
his family eat no betel until the day of this ceremony, 
when the qadi takes some leaves of it and gives them 
to the heir of the deceased, who eats them, after which 
the party disperses. 

When the new moon of the month Shawwdl appeared 
in the same year [ist September 1326], the Hijiz 
caravan left Damascus and I set oiF along with it.®’- 
At Bosra the caravans usually halt for four days so 
that any who have been detained at Damascus by 
business affairs may make up on them. Thence they 
go to the Pool of Ziza, where they ilop for a day, 
and then through al-Lajjdn to the Cattle of Karak. 
Karak, which is also called “ The Ca^le of the Raven,” 
is one of the moft marvellous, impregnable, and cele- 
brated of fortresses. It is surrounded on all sides 
by the river-bed, and has but one gate, the entrance 
to which is hewn in the living rock, as also is the 
approach to its vestibule. This fortress is used by 
kings as a place of refuge in times of calamity, as the 
sultan an-Nisir did when his mamli^k Saldr seized 
the supreme authority. The caravan flopped for 
four days at a place called ath-Thanfya outside 
Karak, where preparations were made for entering 
the desert. Thence we journeyed to Ma‘dn, which 
is the la^l town in Syria, and from ‘Aqabat as-Sawdn 
entered the desert, of which the saying goes ; “ He 
who enters it is lo^l, and he who leaves it is born.” 
After a march of two days we halted at Dhdt Hajj, 
where there are subterranean waterbeds but no habita- 



tions, and then went on to WddI Baldah (in which 
there is no water)®^ and to Tabiik, which is the place 
to which the Prophet led an expedition. The Syrian 
pilgrims have a cu^lom that, on reaching the camp at 
Tabiik, they take their weapons, unsheathe their 
swords, and charge upon the camp, ^riking the palms 
with their swords and saying “ Thus did the Prophet 
of God enter it.” The great caravan halts at Tabiik 
for four days to reft and to water the camels and lay 
in water for the terrible desert between Tabiik and 
al- U14. The cuftom of the water-carriers is to camp 
beside the spring, and they have tanks made of buffalo 
hides, like great cifterns, from which they water the 
camels and fill the waterskins. Each amfr or person 
of rank has a special tank for the needs of his own 
camels and personnel; the other people make private 
agreements with the watercarriers to water their camels 
and fill their waterskins for a fixed sum of money. 

From Tabiik the caravan travels with great speed 
night and day, for fear of this desert. Halfway 
through is the valley of al-Ukhaydir, which might 
well be the valley of Hell (may God preserve us from 
it).®® One year the pilgrims suffered terribly here 
from the samoom-wind; the water-supplies dried up 
and the price of a single drink rose to a thousand 
dinars, but both seller and buyer perished. Their 
ftory is written on a rock in the valley. Five days 
after leaving Tabiik they reach the well of al-Hijr, 
which has an abundance of water, but not a soul 
draws water there, however violent his thirft, following 
the example of the Prophet, who passed it on his 
expedition to Tabiik and drove on his camel, giving 
orders that none should drink of its waters. Here, 
in some hills of red rock, are the dwellings of Thamdd. 
They are cut in the rock and have carved thresholds. 
Anyone seeing them would take them to be of recent 
conftruftion. Their decayed bones are to be seen 



fir^l with kindness and delicacy. The majority ol 
these unfortunates are to be found by the public bake- 
houses, and when anyone has his bread baked and takes 
it away to his house, they follow him and he gives 
each one of them some share of it, sending away none 
disappointed. Even if he has but a single loaf, he 
gives away a third or a half of it, cheerfully and without 
any grudgingness. Another good habit of theirs is 
this. The orphan children sit in the bazaar, each 
with two baskets, one large and one small. When one 
of the townspeople comes to the bazaar and buys 
cereals, meat and vegetables, he hands them to one 
of these boys, who puts the cereals in one basket and 
the meat and vegetables in the other and takes them 
to the man’s house, so that his meal may be prepared. 
Meanwhile the man goes about his devotions and his 
business. There is no instance of any of the boys 
having ever abused their tru^t in this matter, and they 
are given a fixed fee of a few coppers. The Meccans 
are very elegant and clean in their dress, and moil 
of them wear white garments, which you always see 
fresh and snowy. They use a great deal of perfume 
and kohl and make free use of toothpicks of green 
arik-wood. The Meccan women are extraordinarily 
beautiful and very pious and modeil. They too make 
great use of perfiunes to such a degree that they will 
spend the night hungry in order to buy perfumes 
with the price of their food. They visit the mosque 
every Thursday night, wearing their fineil apparel; 
and the whole sanftuary is saturated with the smell 
of their perfume. When one of these women goes 
away the odour of the perfume clings to the place after 
she has gone. 

Among the personages who were living in religious 
retirement at Mecca was a pious and ascetic dodlor 
who had a long-ftanding friendship with my father, 
and used to ftay with us when he came to our town of 



Tangier. In the daytime he taught at the Muzaf- 
fariya college, but at night he retired to his dwelling 
in the convent of Rabl‘. This convent is one of the 
fineft in Mecca; it has in its precinfts a well of sweet 
water which has no equal in Mecca, and its inhabitants 
are all men of great piety. It is highly venerated by 
the people of the Hijaz, who bring votive offerings to 
it, and the people of Ti’if supply it with fruit. Their 
cu^om is that all those who possess a palm garden, or 
orchard of vines, peaches or figs, give the alms-tithe 
from its produce to this convent, and fetch it on their 
own camels. It is two days’ journey from Ta’if to 
Mecca. If any person fails to do this, his crop is 
diminished and dearth-stricken in the following year. 
One day the retainers of the governor of Mecca came 
to this convent, led in the governor’s horses, and 
watered them at the well mentioned above. After 
the horses had been taken back to their Stables, they 
were seized with colic and threw themselves to the 
ground, beating it with their heads and legs. On 
hearing of this the governor went in person to the 
gate of the convent and after apologizing to the poor 
recluses there, took one of them back with him. This 
man rubbed the beaSts’ bellies with his hand, when 
they expelled all the water that they had drunk, and 
were cured. After that the retainers never presented 
themselves at the convent except for good purposes. 



On the 17th of November I left Mecca with the 
commander of the Tr 4 q caravan, who hired for me 
at his own expense the half of a camel-litter as far 
as Baghdad, and took me under his protedlion. After 
the farewell ceremony of circumambulation [of the 
Ka‘ba] we moved out to the Bottom of Marr with 
an innumerable ho^ of pilgrims from Trdq, Khurdsan, 
Fdrs and other eaflern lands, so many that the earth 
surged with them like the sea and their march resembled 
the movement of a high-piled cloud. Any person 
who left the caravan for a moment and had no mark 
to guide him to his place could not find it again 
because of the multitude of people. With this 
caravan there were many draught-camels for supplying 
the poorer pilgrims with water, and other camels to 
carry the provisions issued as alms and the medicines, 
potions, and sugar required for any who fell ill . When- 
ever the caravan halted food was cooked in great brass 
cauldrons, and from these the needs of the poorer 
pilgrims and those who had no provisions were supplied. 
A number of spare camels accompanied it to carry 
those who were unable to walk. All those measures 
were due to the benefactions and generosity of the 
sultan [of Tr&q] Abii Sa‘fd. Besides this the caravan 
included busy bazaars and many commodities and all 
sorts of food and fruit. They used to march during 
the night and light torches in front of the files of camels 
and litters, so that you saw the country gleaming with 
light and the darkness turned into day. 

We returned through Khulays and Badr to Madina, 
and were privileged to visit once more the [tomb of 



the] Prophet. We stayed in Madina for six days, 
and having provided ourselves there with water for 
a three-nights’ journey, set out and halted on the third 
night at Wddi’l-'Anis, where we drew supplies of water 
from underground water-beds. They dig down into 
the ground for them and procure sweet running water. 
On leaving Wadi’l-Ards we entered the land of Najd, 
which is a level dlretch of country extending as far as 
eye can see, and we inhaled its fine scented air. After 
four marches we halted at a waterpoint called al- 
‘Usayla, then resumed our march and halted at a 
waterpoint called an-Naqira, where there are the 
remains of watertanks like vadl reservoirs. Thence 
we journeyed to a waterpoint known as al-Qariira, 
which consists of tanks filled with rainwater. These 
are some of the tanks which were condlruAed by 
Zubayda, the daughter of Ja'far. Every tank, water- 
basin, and well on this road between Mecca and 
Baghdad is a noble monument to her memory — ^may 
God give her richest reward ! This locality is in the 
centre of the diftrift of Najd; it is spacious, with fine 
healthy air, excellent soil, and a temperate climate at 
all seasons of the year. We went on from al-Qanira 
and halted at al-Hajir, where there are watertanks 
which often dry up, so that temporary wells mu^l: be 
dug in order to procure water. We journeyed on and 
halted at Samira, which is a patch of low-lying country 
on a plain, where there is a kind of fortified enceinte 
which is inhabited. It has plenty of water in wells, 
but brackish. The Badawin of that diitridl come there 
with sheep, melted butter, and milk, which they sell 
to the pilgrims for pieces of coarse cotton cloth. That 
is the only thing they will take In exchange. We set 
out again and halted at the “ Hill with the Hole.” 
This hill lies in a tra£t of desert land, and has at the 
top of it a hole through which the wind whittles. 
We went on from there to Wddi’l-Kurdsh, which has 



no water, and after a night march came in the morning 
to the caftle of Fayd.‘ 

Fayd is a large walled and fortified enceinte on a 
level plain, with a suburb inhabited by Arabs, who 
make a living by trading with the pilgrims. On their 
journey to Mecca the pilgrims leave a portion of their 
provisions here, and pick them up again on their return 
journey.® Fayd lies halfway between Mecca and 
Baghddd and is twelve days’ journey from Kiifa, by 
an easy road furnished with supplies of water in tanks. 
The pilgrims are accuftomed to enter this place 
armed and in warlike array, in order to frighten the 
Arabs who colleft there and to cut short their greedy 
designs on the caravan. We met there the two amirs 
of the Arabs, Fayyddh and Hiydr, sons of the amir 
Muhannd b. ‘Isd, accompanied by an innumerable 
troop of Arab horsemen and foot-soldiers. They 
showed great zeal for the safety of the pilgrims and their 
encampments. The Arabs brought camels and sheep, 
and the pilgrims bought from them what they could. 

We resumed our journey through al-Ajfur, Zardd, 
and other halting-places to the defile known as “ Devil’s 
Pass.” We encamped below it [for the night] and 
traversed it the next day. This is the only rough 
and difficult ftretch on the whole road, and even it is 
neither difficult nor long. Our next halt was at a 
place called Wdqisa, where there is a large caftle and 
watertanks. It is inhabited by Arabs, and is the laft 
watering point on this road; from there on to Kiifa 
there is no other watering place of any note except 
ftreams deriving from the Euphrates, Many of the 
people of Kiifa come out to W4qisa to meet the 
pilgrims, bringing flour, bread, dates and fruit, and 
everybody exchanges greetings with everybody else. 
Our next halts were at a place called Lawza, where 
there is a large tank of water; then a place called 
al-Masdjid [The Mosques], where there arc three 



tanks; and after that at a place called Mandrat al- 
quriin [The Minaret of the Horns], which is a tower 
Sanding in a desert locality, conspicuous for its height, 
and decorated at the top with horns of gazelles, but 
there are no dwellings near it. We halted again in 
a fertile valley called al-‘Udhayb, and afterwards at 
al-Qddisiya, where the famous battle was fought 
againS the Persians, in which God manifeSed the 
triumph of the Religion of Islam. There are palm- 
gardens and a watercourse from the Euphrates there.® 
We went on from there and alighted in the town of 
Mash-had ‘Alf at Najaf. It is a fine town, situated 
in a wide rocky plain^ — one of the fineS, moS populous, 
and moS subSantially built cities in 'Irdq. It has 
beautiful clean bazaars. We entered by the [outer] 
Bdb al-Hadra, and found ourselves firS in the market 
of the greengrocers, cooks, and butchers, then in the 
fruit market, then the tailors’ bazaar and the Qaysatiya, 
then the perfumers’ bazaar, after which we came to 
the [inner] Bdb al-Hadra, where there is the tomb, 
which they say is the tomb of ‘Ali.^ One goes through 
the Bdb al-Hadra into a vadl hospice, by which one 
gains access to the gateway of the shrine, where there 
are chamberlains, keepers of registers and eunuchs. 
As a visitor to the tomb approaches, one or all of them 
rise to meet him according to his rank, and they halt 
with him at the threshold. They then ask permission 
for him to enter saying “ By your leave, O Commander 
of the Faithful, this feeble creature asks permission 
to enter the sublime redling-place,” and command him 
to kiss the threshold, which is of silver, as also are the 
lintels. After this he enters the shrine, the floor of 
which is covered with carpets of silk and other materials. 
Inside it are candelabra of gold and silver, large and 
small. In the centre is a square platform about a 
man’s height, covered with wood completely hidden 
under artillically carved plaques of gold fadlened with 

8i G 


silver nails. On this are three tombs, which they 
declare are the graves of Adam, Noah, and ‘All. 
Between the tombs are dishes of silver and gold, con- 
taining rose-water, musk, and other perfumes; the 
visitor dips his hand in these and anoints his face with 
the perfume for a blessing. The shrine has another 
doorway, also with a silver threshold and hangings 
of coloured silk, which opens into a mosque. The 
inhabitants of the town are all Shi‘ites, and at this 
mausoleixm many miracles are performed, which they 
regard as substantiating its claim to be the tomb of 
‘All. One of these miracles is that on the eve of the 
37th Rajab® cripples from the two ‘Iraqs, Khurdsan, 
Persia and Anatolia, numbering about thirty or forty 
in all, are brought here and placed on the holy tomb. 
Those present await their arising and pass the time in 
prayer, or reciting litanies, or reading the Koran or 
contemplating the tomb. When the night is half or 
two-thirds over or so, they all rise completely cured, 
saying “There is no God but God; Muhammad is 
the Prophet of God and ‘AH is the Friend of God.” 
This faft is widely known amon^ them, and I heard 
of it from trustworthy authorities, but I was not 
actually present on any such night. I saw however 
three cripples in the GueSls’ College and asked them 
about themselves, and they told me that they had 
missed the night and were waiting for it in a future 
year. This town pays no taxes or dues and has no 
governor, but is under the sole control of the Naqib 
al-Ashraf [Keeper of the Register of the descendants 
of the Prophet]. Its people are traders of great 
enterprise, brave and generous and excellent company 
on a journey, but they are fanatical about ‘AH. If 
any of them suffers from illness in the head, hand, 
foot, or other part of the body, he makes a model of 
the member in gold or silver and brings it to the 
sanftuary. The treasury of the saniluary is consider- 


able and contains innumerable riches. The Naqib 
al-Ashraf holds a high position at the court. When 
he travels he has the same retinue and flatus as the 
principal military officers, with banners and kettle- 
drums. Military music is played at his gate every 
evening and morning. Before the present holder of 
the office it was held jointly by a number of persons, 
who took turns of duty as governor. 

One of these personages was the Sharif Abd Ghurra. 
In his youth he was given over to devotions and ^ludy, 
but after his appointment as Naqib al-Ashraf he was 
overcome by the world, gave up his ascetic habits, 
and adminiftered his finances corruptly. The matter 
was brought before the sultan, anci Abii Ghurra, on 
hearing of this, went to Khurdsan and thence made 
for India. After crossing the Indus, he had his drums 
beaten and his trumpets blown, and thereby terrified 
the villagers, who, imagining that the Tatars had come 
to raid their country, fled to the city of Uja [Uch] 
and informed its governor of what they had heard. 
He rode out with his troops and prepared for battle, 
when the scouts whom he had sent out saw only about 
ten horsemen and a number of men on foot and 
merchants who had accompanied the Sharif, carrying 
banners and kettledrums. They asked them what they 
were doing and received the reply that the Sharif, 
the Naqib of ‘Iraq, had come on a mission to the 
king of India. The scouts returned with the news 
to the governor, who thought that the Sharif muif 
be a man of little sense to raise banners and beat 
drums outside his own country. The Sharif ^ayed 
for some time at Uja, and every morning and evening 
he had the drums beaten at the door of his house, for 
that used to give him much gratification. It is said 
that when the drums were beaten before him in ‘Irdq, 
as the drummer finished beating he would say to him 
“ One more roll, drummer,” until these words iluck 



to him as a nickname. The governor of tJja wrote 
to the king of India about the Sharif and his drum- 
beating, both on his journey and before his house 
morning and evening, as well as flying banners. Now 
the cu^om in India is that no person is entitled to 
use banners and drums except by special privilege from 
the king, and even then only while travelling. At 
reft no drums are beaten except before the king’s 
house alone. In Egypt, Syria and ‘Irdq, on the other 
hand, drums are beaten before the houses of the mili- 
tary governors. The king was therefore displeased 
and annoyed at the Sharif s a£Iion. Now it happened 
that as the Sharif approached the capital, with his 
drums beating as usual, suddenly he met the sultan, 
with his cortege on his way to meet the amir of Sind. 
The Sharif went forward to the sultan to greet him, 
and the sultan, after asking how he was and why he 
had come and hearing his answers, went on to meet 
the amir, and returned to the capital, without paying 
the slightest attention to the Sharif or giving orders 
for his lodging or anything else. He was then on 
the point of setting out for Dawlat Abid, and before 
going he sent the Sharif 500 dinars (which equal 
125 of our Moroccan dinars) and said to the mes- 
senger: “ Tell him that if he wants to go back to his 
country, this is his travelling provision, and if he wants 
to come with us it is for his expenses on the journey, 
but if he prefers to ^ay in the capital it is for his 
expenses until we return.” The Sharif was vexed at 
this for he was desirous that the sultan should make 
as rich presents to him as he usually did to his equals. 
He chose to travel with the sultan and attached 
himself to the wazir, who came to regard him with 
aflfeftion, and so used his influence with the king that 
he formed a high opinion of him, and assigned him 
two villages in the di^rift of Dawlat Abdd, with the 
order to reside in them. For eight years the Sharif 


PEr,sii\n gulf 

^ Ba-s»a, sa.-wifc Sc.ale, 


stayed there, collefting the revenue of these two 
villages, and amassed considerable wealth. There- 
upon he wanted to leave the country but could not, 
since those who are in the king's service are not allowed 
to leave without his permission, and he is much 
attached to ilrangers and rarely gives any of them 
leave. The Sharif tried to escape by the coail road, 
but was turned back; then he went to the capital and 
by the wazi'r’s good offices received the sultan’s per- 
mission to leave India, together with a gift of 10,000 
Indian dinars. The money was given him in a sack, 
and he used to sleep on it, out of his love of money, 
and fear le^ some of it should get to any of his com- 
panions. As a result of sleeping on it he developed 
a pain in his side as he was ju^l about to ^art on his 
journey, and eventually he died twenty days after 
receiving the sack. He bequeathed the money to 
the Sharif Hasan al-Jarani, who diftributed the whole 
amount in alms to the Shi'ites living in Delhi. The 
Indians do not sequeftrate inheritances for the treasury, 
and do not interfere with the property of Grangers 
nor even make enquiries about it, however much it 
may be. In the same way, the negroes never interfere 
with the property of a white man, but it is left in 
charge of the principal members of his company until 
the rightful heir comes to claim it. 

After our visit to the tomb of the Caliph ‘Ali, the 
caravan went on to Baghddd, but I set out for Basra, 
in the company of a large troop of the Arab inhabitants 
of that country. They are exceedingly brave and it 
is impossible to travel in those regions except in their 
company. Our way lay along the Euphrates by the 
place called al-Tdh 4 r, which is a waterlogged jungle 
of reeds, inhabited by Arabs noted for their predatory 
habits. They are brigands and profess adhesion to 
the Shi'ite seft. They attacked a party of darwlshes 
behind us and ftripped them of everything down to 



tJigir shoes 3.nd wooden bowls. They hsive lortificd 
positions in this jungle and defend themselves in 
these again^ all attacks. Three days’ march through 
this di^Irift brought us to the town of Wash. ^ Its 
inhabitants are among the beft people in ‘Iraq — 
indeed, the very beil of them without qualification. 
All the ‘Iraqis who wish to learn how to recite the 
Koran come here, and our caravan contained a number 
of students who had come for that purpose. As the 
caravan ftayed here three days, I had an opportunity 
of visiting the grave of ar-Rifa‘i, which is at a village 
called Umm ‘Ubayda, one day’s journey from there. 
I reached the establishment at noon the next day and 
found it to be an enormous mona^ery, containing 
thousands of darwishes.® After the mid-afternoon 
prayer drums and kettledrums w^ere beaten and the 
darwishes began to dance. After this they prayed 
the sunset prayer and brought in the meal, consiv^ling 
of rice-bread, fish, milk and dates. After the night 
prayer they began to recite their litany. A number 
of loads of wood had been brought in and kindled 
into a flame, and they went into the fire dancing; 
some of them rolled in it and others ate it in their 
mouths until they had extinguished it entirely. This 
is the peculiar custom of the Ahmadi darwishes. Some 
of them take large snakes and bite their heads with 
their teeth until they bite them clean through. 

After visiting ar-Rifi'i’s tomb I returned to Wdsit, 
and found that the caravan had already Parted, but 
overtook them on the way, and accompanied them 
to Basra. As we approached the city I had remarked 
at a diflance of some two miles from it a lofty building 
resembling a fortress. I asked about it and was told 
that it was the mosque of 'Ali. Basra was in former 
times a city so va^ that this mosque ^lood in the 
centre of the town, whereas now it is two miles outside 
it. Two miles beyond it again is the old wall that 



encircled the town, so that it ^ands midway between 
the old wall and the present city.'^ Basra is one of 
the metropolitan cities of ‘Iraq, and no place on earth 
excels it in quantity of palm-groves. The current 
price of dates in its market is fourteen pounds to an 
‘Iraqi dirham, which is one-third of a nuqra? The 
qadi sent me a hamper of dates that a man could 
scarcely carry; I sold them and received nine dirhams, 
and three of those were taken by the porter for carrying 
the basket from the house to the market. The in- 
habitants of Basra possess many excellent qualities; 
they are affable to Grangers and give them their due, 
so that no stranger ever feels lonely among^ them. 
They hold the Friday service in the mosque of ‘All 
mentioned above, but for the reft of the week it is 
closed. I was present once at the Friday service in 
this mosque and when the preacher rose to deliver 
his discourse he committed many gross errors of 
grammar.® In aftonishment at this I spoke of it to 
the qadi and this is what he said to me ; ‘‘ In this town 
there is not a man left who knows anything of the 
science of grammar.” Here is a lesson for those who 
will refleft on it — Magnified be He who changes all 
things ! This Basra, in whose people the maftery of 
grammar reached its height, from whose soil sprang 
its trunk and its branches, amongft whose inhabitants 
is numbered the leader whose primacy is undisputed — 
the preacher in this town cannot deliver a discourse 
without breaking its rules ! 

At Basra I embarked in a sumbuq^ that is a small 
boat, for Ubulla,“ which lies ten miles diftant. One 
travels between a conftant succession of orchards and 
palm-groves both to right and left, with merchants 
sitting in the shade of the trees selling bread, fish, 
dates, milk and fruit. Ubulla was formerly a large 
town, frequented by merchants from India and Fdrs, 
but it fell into decay and is now a village. Here we 



embarked after sunset on a small ship belonging to 
a man from Ubulla and in the morning reached 
‘Abbddan, a large village on a salt plain with no 
cultivation. I was told that there was at ‘Abbad^n 
a devotee of great merit, who lived in complete soli- 
tude. He used to come down to the shore once a 
month and catch enough fish for his month’s pro- 
visions and then disappear again. I made it my 
business to seek him out, and found him praying in 
a ruined mosque. When he had finished praying he 
took my hand and said “ May God grant you your 
desire in this world and the next.” I have indeed — 
praise be to God — attained my desire in this world, 
which was to travel through the earth, and I have 
attained therein what none other has attained to my 
knowledge. The world to come remains, but my 
hope is ^rong in the mercy and clemency of God. 
My companions afterwards went in search of this 
devotee, but they could get no news of him. That 
evening one of the darwi'shes belonging to the religious 
house at which we had put up met him, and he gave 
him a fresh fish saying " Take this to the gueft who 
came today.” So the darwish said to us as he came 
in “ Which of you saw the Shaykh today ?” I replied 

I saw him,” and he said “He says to you ‘ This is 
your hospitality gift.’ ” I thanked God for that, then 
the darwish cooked the fish for us and we all ate of 
it. I have never tabled better fish. For a moment 
I entertained the idea of spending the re^l of my life 
in the service of this Shaykh, but my spirit, tenacious 
of Its purpose, dissuaded me. 

We sailed thereafter for Mijdl. I made it a habit 
on my journey never, so far as possible, to cover a 
second time any road that I had once travelled. I 
aiming to reach Baghdad, and a man at Basra 
ady scd me to travel to the country of the Ldrs, thence 
to Iraq al- Ajam and thence to Trdq al-‘Arab, and I 



followed his counsel. Four days later we reached 
Majiil,'' a small place on the Persian Gulf, and thence 
I hired a mount from some grain-merchants. After 
travelling for three nights across open country inhabited 
by nomadic Kurds we reached Ramiz [Ram-hurmuz], 
a fine city with fruit trees and rivers, where I stayed 
only one night before continuing our journey for three 
nights more across a plain inhabited by Kurds. At 
the end of each ftage there was a hospice, at which 
every traveller was supplied with bread, meat, and 
sweetmeats. Thereafter I came to the city of Tuftar 
[Shushtar] which is situated at the edge of the plain 
and the beginning of the mountains. I Stayed there 
sixteen days at the madrasa of the Shaykh Sharaf 
ad-Dm Miisa, one of the handsomeSt and moSl upright 
of men. He preaches every Friday after the midday 
service, and when I heard him, all the preachers whom 
I had heard previously in the Hijdz, Syria and Egypt 
sank in my estimation, nor have I ever met his equal. 
One day I was present with him at a gathering of 
notables, theologians and darwishes in an orchard on 
the river-bank. After he had served them all with 
food, he delivered a discourse with solemnity and 
dignity. When he finished, bits of paper were thrown 
to him from all sides, for it is a cuStom of the Persians 
to jot down questions on scraps of paper and throw 
them to the preacher, who answers them. The 
shaykh collefted them all and began to answer them 
one after the other in the moSt remarkable and elegant 

From TuStar we travelled three nights through 
lofty mountains, halting at a hospice at each Station, 
and came to the town of Idhaj, also called Mdl al-Ami'r, 
the capital of the sultan Atibeg (which is a title 
common to all the rulers of that country).^ I wished 
to see the sultan, but that was not easily come by, as 
he goes out only on Fridays because of his addiction 



to wine. Some days later the sultan sent me an 
invitation to visit him. I went with the messenger 
to the gate called the Cypress Gate, and we mounted 
a long ^aircase, finally reaching a room, which was 
unfurnished because they were in mourning for the 
sultan’s son. The sultan was sitting on a cushion, 
with two covered goblets in front of him, one of gold 
and the other of silver. A green rug was spread for 
me near him and I sat down on this. No one else 
was in the room but his chamberlain and one of his 
boon-companions. The sultan asked me about myself 
and my country, the sultan of Egypt, and the Hijaz, 
and I answered all his questions. At this jundlure 
a noted doftor of the law came in, and as the sultan 
Parted praising him I began to see that he was 
intoxicated. Afterwards he said to me in Arabic, 
which he spoke well, “ Speak.” I said to him “ If 
you will liilen to me, I say to you * You are a son 
of a sultan noted for piety and uprightness, and there 
is nothing to be brought again^ you as a ruler but 
this,’ ” and I pointed to the goblete. He was over- 
come with confusion at what I said, and sat silent. 
I wished to go, but he bade me sit down and said to 
me, “ To meet with men like you is a mercy.” Then 
I saw him reeling and on the point of falling asleep, 
so I withdrew. I could not find my sandals, but the 
doftor I have mentioned went up and found them in 
the room and brought them to me. His kindness 
ashamed me and 1 made my excuses, but thereupon he 
kissed mysandals and put them on his head saying “God 
bless you. What you said to the sultan none could say 
but you. I hope this will make an impression on him.” 

A few days later I left Idhaj, and the sultan sent 
me a number of dinars [as a farewell gift] with a like 
sum for my companions. For ten days we continued 
to travel in the territories of this sultan amidft high 
mountains, halting every night at a madrasa, where 


T R A V E I, S OF 1 B N B A T T O T A 

each traveller was supplied with food for himself and 
forage for his beast. Some of the madrasas are in 
desolate localities, but all their requirements are trans- 
ported to them. One-third of the revenues of the 
state is devoted to the maintenance of these hospices 
and madrasas. We travelled on across a well-watered 
plain belonging to the province of the city of Isfahan, 
passing through the towns of Ushturkdn and Flrdzdn. 
On reaching the latter place w'e found its inhabitants 
outside the town escorting a funeral. They had 
torches lit behiiid and in front of the bier, and they 
followed it up with fifes and singers, singing all sorts 
of merry songs. We were amazed at their condudl:. 
The next day our w'ay lay through orchards and 
ifreams and fine villages, with very many pigeon 
tow'ers, and in the afternoon wc reached Isfahan or 
Ispahdn, in ‘Iraq al-‘Ajam. Isfahan is one of the 
largest and fairedl of cities, but the greater part of it 
is now in ruins, as a result of the feud between Sunnis 
and Shi'ites, which is ilill raging there. It is rich 
in fruits, among its products being apricots of un- 
equalled quality with sweet almonds in their kernels, 
quinces whose sweetness and size cannot be paralleled, 
splendid grapes, and wonderful melons. Its people 
are goodlooking, with clear white skins tinged with 
red, exceedingly brave, generous, and always trying 
to outdo one another in procuring luxurious viands. 
Many curious Glories are told of this la^t trait in them. 
The members of each trade form corporations, as 
also do the leading men who are not engaged in trade, 
and the young unmarried men; these corporations 
then engage in mutual rivalry, inviting one another 
to banquets, in the preparations for which they display 
all their resources. I was told that one corporation 
invited another and cooked its viands with lighted 
candles, then the gue^s returned the invitation and 
cooked their viands with silk. 



We then set out from Isfahdn on purpose to visit 
the Shaykh Majd ad-Din at Shiraz, which is ten days’ 
journey from there. After six days’ travelling we 
reached Yazdikhwaft, outside of which there is a 
convent where travellers ftay. It has an iron gate 
and is extremely well fortified; inside it are shops at 
which the travellers can buy all that they need. Here 
they make the cheese called Yazdikhwdfti, which is 
uneq^ualled for goodness; each cheese weighs from 
two to four ounces. Thence we travelled across a 
ftretch of open country inhabited by Turks, and 
reached Shiraz, a densely populated town, well built 
and admirably planned. Each trade has its own 
bazaar. Its inhabitants are handsome and clean in 
their dress. In the whole Eaft there is no city that 
approaches Damascus in beauty of bazaars, orchards 
and rivers, and in the handsome figures of its inhabi- 
tants, but Shiraz. It is on a plain surrounded by 
orchards on all sides and intersefted by/ivers, one of 
which is the river known as Rukn Abdd,^® whose 
water is sweet, very cold in summer and warm in 
winter. The people of Shiriz are pious and upright, 
especially the women, who have a Strange cuSlom. 
Every Monday, Thursday, and Friday they meet in 
the principal mosque to liften to the preacher, one or 
two thousand of them, carrying fans with which they 
fan themselves on account of the great heat. I have 
never seen in any land so great an assembly of 

On entering Shiriz I had but one desire, which 
was to seek out the illustrious Shaykh Majd ad-Din 
Ismi'il, the marvel of the age. As I reached his 
dwelling he was going out to the afternoon prayer; 
I saluted him and he embraced me and took my hand 
until he came to his prayer mat, when he signed me 
to pray beside him. After this, the notables of the 
town came forward to salute him, as is their cuStom 



morning and evening, then he asked me about my 
jotirney and the lands I had visited, and gave orders 
to lodge me in his madrasa. The Shaykh Majd 
ad-Di'n is held in the highest esteem by the king 
of ‘Ir£q, for reasons which the following ^ory will 
show. The [late] king of ‘Iraq, Sultan Muhammad 
Khudibanda,*^ had as a companion, while he was yet 
an infidel, a Shi‘ite theologian, and when the sultan 
embraced Islam together with the Tatars, he showed 
the greater respeft for this man, who persuaded him 
to e^ablish the Shi'ite faith throughout his dominions. 
At Baghdad, Shiraz, and Isfahdn the population pre- 
vented the execution of the order, whereupon the king 
ordered the qadis of these three towns to be brought. 
The firil of them to be brought was the qadi Majd 
ad-Din of Shirdz. The sultan was then at a place 
called Qarabdgh,'® which was his summer residence, 
and when the qadi arrived, he ordered him to be 
thrown to the dogs which he had there. These are 
enormous dogs with chains on their necks, trained to 
eat men. When anyone is brought to be delivered 
to the dogs, he is placed at liberty and without chains 
in a wide plain ; the dogs are then loosed on him and 
he flees, but finds no refuge; they overtake him and 
tear him to pieces and eat his flesh. But when the 
dogs were loosed on the qadf Majd ad-Dfn, they 
would not attack him but wagged their tails before 
him in the friendlieft manner. The sultan, on hearing 
of this, showed the greatest reverence and respeft to 
him, and renounced the doftrines of the Shi'ites. 
He made va^l presents to the q 4 di, including a hundred 
of the villages of Jamkin, which is the beil diftrift 
in Shirdz. I met the qddi again on my return from 
India in 1347. He was then too weak to walk, but 
he recognized me and rose to embrace me. I visited 
him one day and found the sultan of Shirdz sitting in 
front of him, holding his own ear. This is the height 



of good manners amongst them, and all the people 
do so when they sit in the presence of the king. 

The sultan of Shirdz at the time of my visit was 
Abd Ishdq,“ one of the beft of sultans, handsome 
and well-condufted, of generous charafter, humble, 
but powerful and the ruler of a great kingdom. He 
has an army of more than fifty thousand men, Turks 
and Persians, but he does not truft the people of 
Shiraz. He will not take them into his service, and 
allows none of them to carry arms, because they are 
very brave and apt to rise againft their rulers. He 
made himself ma^er of Shiraz, as well as of Firs and 
Isfahin, after the death of Sultan Abii Sa'ld [in I335]> 
when every amir seized what he possessed. At one 
time Sultan Abd Ishaq desired to build a jialace 
like the Aywdn Kisra,” and ordered the inhabitants 
of Shlrdz to undertake the digging of its foundations. 
They set to work on this, each corporation of artisans 
rivalling the other, and carried their rivalry to such 
lengths that they made baskets of leather to carry the 
earth and covered them with embroidered silk. They 
did the same with the donkey panniers. Some of 
them made tools of silver, and lit numerous candles. 
When they went to dig they put on their beft garments, 
with girdles of silk, and the sultan watched their work 
from a balcony. When the foundations were dug the 
inhabitants were freed from service, and paid artisans 
took their place. Several thousands of them were 
collefted for this work, and I heard from the governor 
of the town that the greater part of its taxes were spent 
on it. Abd Ishdq wished to be compared to the king 
of India for the magnificence of his gifts, but “ How 
diftant are the Pleiads from the dod!” The largeft 
gift of Abd Ishdq that I ever heard tell of was that 
he gave an ambassador from the king of Herdt seventy 
thousand dinars, whereas the king of India never 
ceases to give many times more than that to an in- 



numerable number of persons. One instance may be 

The amir Bakht one day felt indisposed at the 
capital of the king of India, who went to visit him. 
As the king entered he wished to rise, but the king 
swore that he muft not come down from his bed. 
A divan was brought on which the sultan sat down. 
He then called for gold and a balance, and when 
these were brought he ordered the' sick man to sit 
on one of the trays. The amir said, " O master of 
the world, had I known that you would do this, I 
should have put on many clothes.” The sultan 
replied, “ Put on now all the clothes that you have.” 
So he put on the clothes that he wore in the cold 
weather, which were padded with cotton-wool, and 
sat on one of the trays of the balance. The other 
was filled with gold until it tipped down, when the 
king said “ Take this, and give it in alms for your 
recovery,” and left him. 

Shiraz contains many sanftuaries which are visited 
and venerated by its inhabitants. Among them is 
the tomb of the imam ‘Abdalldh ibn Khafif, who is 
known there simply as “ The Shaykh.” He occupies 
a high place among the saints, and the following ^tory 
is told of him. >j.One day he went to the mountain 
of Sarandib [Adam’s Peak] in the island of Ceylon 
accompanied by about thirty darwishes. They were 
overcome by hunger on the way, in an uninhabited 
locality, and lo^l their bearings. They asked the 
shaykh to allow them to seize one of the small elephants, 
of which there are a very large number in that place, 
and which are transported thence to the king of India. 
The shaykh forbade them, but their hunger got the 
better or them and they disobeyed him and, seizing 
a small elephant, killed and ate it. The shaykh 
however refused to eat it. That night, as they slept, 
the elephants gathered from all quarters and came 



upon them, smelling each one of them and killing 
him until they had made an end of them all. They 
smelled the shaykh too but offered no violence to him; 
one of them lifted him with its trunk, put him on its 
back, and brought him to the inhabited diitricfl. 
When the people of that part saw him, they marvelled 
at him and came to out meet him and hear his ilory. 
As it came near them, the elephant lifted him with its 
trunk and placed him on the ground in full view of 

I visited this island of Ceylon. Its people ^ill live 
in idolatry [Buddhism], yet they show respeft for 
Muslim darwfshes, lodge them in their houses, and 
give them to eat, and they live in their houses amidol 
their wives and children. This is contrary to the 
usage of the other Indian idolaters [Brahmans and 
Hindus], who never make friends with Muslims, and 
never give them to eat or to drink out of their vessels, 
although at the same time they neither aft nor speak 
offensively to them. We were compelled to have 
some flesh cooked for us by some of them, and they 
would bring it in their pots and sit at a diftance from 
us. They would also serve us with rice, which is 
their principal food, on banana leaves, and then go 
away, and what we left over was eaten by dogs and birds. 
If any small child, who had not reached the age of 
reason, ate any of it, they would beat him and make 
him eat cow dung, this being, as they say, the purifica- 
tion for that aft. / / r 

+ Among the sandtuaries outside Shfrdz is the grave 
of the pious shaykh known as as-Sa‘df,“ who was the 
greatest poet of his time in the Persian language, and 
sonietimes introduced Arabic verses into his com- 
posibons. There is a fine hospice which he built 
m this place haying a beautiful garden within it, close 
^the source of the great river known as Rukn Abdd. 
The Shaykh [Sa di] had conftrufted some small cifterns 



in marble there to wash clothes in. The citizens of 
Shirdz go out to visit his tomb, and they eat from his 
table [i.e. eat food prepared at the convent] and wash 
their clothes in the river. I did the same thing there 
— may God have mercy upon him! 

I left Shiraz to visit the tomb of the pious shaykh 
Abii Ishaq al-Kazariinl at Kdzariin, which lies two 
days’ journey [weft] from Shiraz, This shaykh is 
held in high honour by the inhabitants of India and 
China. Travellers on the Sea of China, when the 
wind turns again^l them and they fear pirates, usually 
make vows to Abd Ishaq, each one setting down in 
writing what he has vowed. When they reach safety 
the officers of the convent go on board the ship, receive 
the li^, and take from each person the amount of his 
vow. There is not a ship coming from India or China 
but has thousands of dinars in it [vowed to the saint]. 
Any mendicant who comes to beg alms of the shaykh 
is given an order, sealed with the shaykh’s seal damped 
in red wax, to this effeil : “ Let any person who has 
made a vow to the Shaykh Abd Ishaq give thereof 
to so-and-so so much,” specifying a thousand or a 
hundred, or more or less. When the mendicant finds 
anyone who has made a vow, he takes from him the 
sum named and writes a receipt for the amount on 
the back of the order. 

From Kdzardn we went by way of Zaydan to 
Huwayza, and thence by a five days’ march through 
waterless desert to Kdfa.^® Though it was once the 
abode of the Companions of the Prophet and of scholars 
and theologians, and the capital of ‘All, the Commander 
of the Faithful, Kdfa has now fallen into ruins, as 
a result of the attacks which it has suffered from the 
nomad Arab brigands in the neighbourhood. The 
town is unwalled. Its principal mosque is a magni- 
ficent building with seven naves supported by great 
pillars of immense height, made of carved ftones 

97 H 


placed one on top of the other, the interstices being 
filled with molten lead. We resumed our journey and 
halted for the night at Bi’r Malldha [“ Salt Well ”], 
which is a pretty town lying amongSt palm gardens. 
I encamped outside it, and would not enter the place, 
because the inhabitants are fanatical Shi'ites. 

Next morning we went on and alighted at the city 
of Hilla, which is a large town lying dong the weSlern 
bank of the Euphrates, with fine markets where both 
naturd products and manufaftured goods may be 
had. At this place there is a great bridge faSlened 
upon a continuous row of boats from bank to bank, 
the boats being held in place both fore and aft by 
iron chains attached on either bank to a huge wooden 
beam made faSl ashore. The inhabitants of Hilla 
are all Shi'ites of the “ Twelvers ” seft, but they are 
divided into two fadlions, known as the “ Kurds ” 
and the “ Party of the Two Mosques,” between whom 
there is con^lant factional ^Irife and fighting. Near 
the principd market in this town there is a mosque, 
the door of which is covered with a silk curtain. They 
call this the Sanftuary of the Ma^er of the Age.“ 
Every evening before sunset, a hundred of the towns- 
men, following their custom, go with arms and drawn 
swords to the governor of the city and receive from 
him a saddled and bridled horse or mule. With this 
they go in procession, with drums beating and 
trximpets and bugles blowing, fifty of them in front 
of it and fifty behind, while others walk to right and 
left, to the Sandluary of the Mafter of the Age. They 
halt at the door and call out “ In the Name of God, 
O Mailer of the Age, in the Name of God, come forth I 
Corruption is abroad and inju^ice is rife! This is 
the hour for thy advent, that by thee God may discover 
the true from the false.” They continue to call out 
thus, sounding their drums and bugles and trumpets, 
until the hour of svmset prayer, for they hold that 



Muhammad, the son of al-Hasan al-‘Askari, entered 
this mosque and disappeared from sight in it, and that 
he will emerge from it, for he, in their view, is the 
“ Expefted Imdm.” 

We travelled thence to the town of Karbali, the 
shrine of al-Husayn, the son of ‘AH.“ The sur- 
roundings of the tomb and the ceremonies of visitation 
resemble those of the tomb of ‘AH at Najaf. In this 
town too the inhabitants form two fa£fions between 
whom there is conifant fighting, although they are all 
Shi'ites and descended from the same family, and as 
a result of their feuds the town is in ruins. 

Thence we travelled to Baghdad, the Abode of 
Peace and Capital of Isldm.^ Here there are two 
bridges like that at Hilla, on which the people 
promenade night and day, both men and women. 
The town has eleven cathedral mosques, eight on the 
right bank and three on the left, together with very 
many other mosques and madrasas, only the laitter are 
all in ruins. The baths at Baghddd are numerous 
and excellently con^frufted, moil of them being 
painted with pitch, which has the appearance of black 
marble. This pitch is brought from a spring between 
Kdfa and Basra, from which it flows continually. It 
gathers at the sides of the spring like clay and is 
shovelled up and brought to Baghddd. Each eilab- 
lishment has a large number of private bathrooms, 
every one of which has also a wash-basin in the corner, 
with two taps supplying hot and cold water. Every 
bather is given three towels, one to wear round his 
waiil when he goes in, another to wear round his wai^ 
when he comes out, and the third to dry himself with. 
In no town other than Baghdad have I seen all this 
elaborate arrangement, though some other towns 
approach it in this respefl.®® The we^lern part of 
Baghddd was the earliest to be built, but it is now for the 
moft part in ruins. In spite of that there remain in 



it thirteen quarters, each like a city in itself and 
possessing two or three baths. The hospital (marisfan) 
is a va^ ruined edifice, of which only vc^stiges remain. 
The eaftern part has an abundance of bazaars, the 
largeil of which is called the Tuesday bazaar. On 
this side there are no fruit trees, but all the fruit is 
brought from the we^ern side, where there are orchards 
and gardens. 

My arrival at Baghddd coincided with a visit of the 
sultan of the two Traqs and of Khurasan, the illus- 
trious Abii Sa'id Bahadur Khdn,®^ son of Sultan 
Muhammad Khuddbanda whose conversion we re- 
lated above. He was an excellent and generous 
king. He was dlill a boy when he succeeded his 
father, and the power was seized by the principal 
amir, Jiibdn, who left him nothing of sovereignty but 
the name. This went on until one day his father’s 
wives complained to him of the insolence of Jdbdn’s 
son Dimashq Khwdja, and the sultan had him arreted 
and put to death. Jdbdn was then in Khurdsdn with 
the army of the Tatars. They agreed to fight the 
sultan, and marched againdl him, but when the two 
forces met, the Tatars deserted to their sultan and 
Jdbdn was left without support. He fled to the desert 
of Sijidtdn [Sidtan], and afterwards took refuge with 
the king of Herdt, who betrayed him a few days later, 
killed him and his youngedl son and sent their heads 
to the sultan. When Abii Sa'id had become sole 
madter, he desired to marry Jdbdn’s daughter, who 
was called Baghddd Khdtiin, and was one of the modi 
beautiful of women. She was married to Shaykh 
Hasan, the same who became madler of the kingdom 
after the death of Abd Sa’ld, and who was his cousin 
by his father’s sidler. Shaykh Hasan divorced her 
on Abd Sa'ld’s order, and she became his favourite 
wife. Among the Turks and the Tatars their wives 
hold a high position; when they issue an order they 



say in it “ By order of the Sultan and the Khatiins.” 
Each khatiin possesses several towns and diftrifts 
and va^l revenues, and when they travel with the sultan 
they have a separate camp. After this had gone on 
for some time the king married a woman called 
Dilshid, of whom he was very fond.*® He negledted 
Baghdad Khatiin, who became jealous and poisoned 
him with a kerchief. On his death his line became 
extinft, and the amirs seized the provinces for them- 
selves. When they learned that it was Baghdid 
Khitiin who had poisoned him, they decided to put 
her to death. A Greek slave, called Khwija Lu’lu’, 
who was one of the principal amirs, came to her while 
she was in her bath and beat her to death with his club. 
Her body lay there for some days, covered only with 
a piece of sacking. 

I left Baghdad with the mahallc^ of Sultan Abd 
Sa‘id> on purpose to see the way in which the king’s 
marches are conduced, and travelled with it for ten 
days, thereafter accompanying one of the amirs to the 
town of Tabriz.*^ We reached the town after ten 
days’ travelling, and encamped outside it in a place 
called ash-Sham. Here there is a fine hospice, where 
travellers are supplied with food, consisting of bread, 
meat, rice cooked in butter, and sweetmeats. The 
next morning I entered the town and we came to a 
great bazaar, called the Ghiz4n bazaar, one of the 
finest bazaars I have seen the world over. Every 
trade is grouped separately in it. I passed through 
the jewellers’ bazaar, and my eyes were dazzled % 
the varieties of precious Stones that I beheld. They 
were displayed by beautiful slaves wearing rich gar- 
ments with a waiSt-sash of silk, who Stood in front 
of the merchants, exhibiting the jewels to the wives 
of the Turks, while the women were buying them in 
large quantities and trying to outdo one another. As 
a result of all this I witnessed a riot — ^may God preserve 



us from such ! We went on into the ambergris and 
musk market, and witnessed another riot like it or 

We spent only one night at Tabriz. Next day the 
amir received an order from the sultan to rejoin him, 
so I returned along with him, without having seen any 
of the learned men there. On reaching the camp the 
^ir told the sultan about me and introduced me 
into his presence. The sultan asked me about my 
country, and gave me a robe and a horse. The amir 
told him that I was Intending to go to the Hijdz, 
whereupon he gave orders for me to be supplied with 
provisions and to travel with the cortege of the com- 
mander of the pilgrim caravan, and wrote in^lruftions 
to that eflFedl to the governor of Baghdad. I returned 
therefore to Baghdad and received in full what the 
sultan had ordered. As more than two months 
remained before the period when the pilgrim caravan 
^s to set out, I thought it a good plan to make a 
journey to Mosul and Diyar Bakr to see those diilrifts, 
and then return to Baghddd when the Hijiz caravan 
was due to ^lart. 

leaving Baghddd we reached a Elation on the 
Dujayl canal, which is derived from the Tigris and 
waters a large traft of villages, and two days later 
topped at a large village called Harba. From there 
we travelled to a place on the Tigris near a fort called 
al-Ma‘shiiq, opposite which on the eaftern bank, is 
the town of Surra-man-rd’a or Sdmarrd. This town 
IS a total ruin and only a very small part of it remains. 
It has an equable climate and is exceedingly beautiful 
in spite of Its disafters and the ruins of its noble 
buildings. One day further on we reached Takrlt, 
a large city with fine markets and many mosques, 
whose inhabitants are didlinguished by their good 
qualities. Two marches from there brought us to 
a village called al-‘Aqr, from which there is a con- 



tinuous ^trip of villages and cultivation to Mosul. 
We came next to some black land in which there are 
wells of pitch, like the one already mentioned between 
Kiifa and Basra, and two Plages on from these wells 
we reached al-Mawsil [Mosul]. 

Mosul is an ancient and prosperous city, whose 
fortress, known as al-Hadbi’ [“ The Humpback ”], is 
famous for its strength. Next to it are the sultan’s 
palaces. These are separated from the town by a 
long and broad ftreet, running from the top to the 
bottom of the town. Round the town run two ^rong 
walls, with close-set towers. So thick is the wall that 
there are chambers inside it one next the other all the 
way round. I have never seen city walls like it except 
at Delhi. Outside the town is a large suburb, con- 
taining mosques, baths, hoilelries and markets. It 
has a cathedral mosque on the bank of the Tigris, 
round which there are lattice windows of iron, and 
adjoining it are platforms overlooking the river, 
exceedingly beautiful and well con^rufted. In front 
of the mosque there is a hospital, and there are two 
other cathedral mosques inside the town. The 
Qaysarlya of Mosul is a fine building with iron gates.®® 

From Mosul we journeyed to Jazirat ibn ‘Omar, 
a large town surrounded by the river, which is the 
reason why it is called Jazirah [island]. The greater 
part of it is in ruins. Its inhabitants are men of 
excellent charafter and very kind to Grangers. The 
day that we stayed there we saw Mount Jiidi, which 
is mentioned in the Book of God [the Koran] as that 
on which Noah’s vessel came to reft. Two ftages 
from Jazirat ibn ‘Omar we reached the town of 
Naslbln, an ancient town of moderate size, for the moft 
part in ruins, lying in a wide and fertile plain. In 
this town rose-water is manufaftured which is un- 
equalled for perfume and sweetness. Round it there 
runs like a bracelet a river which flows from sources 



in a mountain close by. One branch enters the town, 
flows amid^ its streets and dwellings, cuts through the 
court of the principal mosque, and empties into two 
basins. The town has a hospital and two madrasas. 

Thereafter we travelled to the town of Sinj4r,®° 
which is built at the foot of a mountain. Its in- 
habitants are Kurds, and are brave and generous. 
We went on next to the town of Dard, a large, ancient 
and glidlening town, with an imposing fortress, but 
now in ruins and totally uninhabited. Outside it 
there is an inhabited village in which we topped. 
We journeyed on from there and reached the town of 
Maridin, a great city at the foot of a hill, one of the 
moil beautiful, ilriking and subilantially built cities 
in the lands of Islam. Here they manufadlure the 
woollen fabrics known by its name. At Maridfn 
there is a fortress of exceptional height, situated on 
the hilltop. The sultan of Maridfn at the time of 
my ilay was al-Malik as-Sdlih.®® There is no one in 
Trdq, Syria or Egypt who is more openhanded than 
he, and poets and darwfshes come to visit him and 
receive munificent gifts. 

I then ilarted to make my way back to Baghddd. 
On reaching Mosul I found its pilgrim caravan out- 
side the city setting out for Baghddd and joined them. 
When we arrived at Baghddd I found the pilgrims 
preparing for the journey, so I went to visit the governor 
and asked him for the things which the sultan had 
ordered for me. He assigned me the half of a camel- 
litter and provisions and water for four persons, 
writing out an order to that efFeft, then sent for the 
leader of the caravan and commended me to him. I 
had already made the acquaintance of the latter, but 
our friendship was strengthened and I remained under 
his proteftion and favoured by his bounty, for he gave 
me even more than had been ordered for me. As we 
left Kdfa I fell ill of a diarrhoea and had to be dis- 



mounted from the camel many times a day. The 
commander of the caravan used to rhake enquiries 
for my condition and give inilrudlions that I should 
be looked after. My illness continued until I reached 
Mecca, the Sanftuary of God (may He exalt her 
honour and greatness !). I made the circuit of the 
Sacred Edifice [the Ka'aba] on arrival, but I was so 
weak that I had to carry out the prescribed cere- 
monies seated, and I made the circuit and the ritual 
visitation of Safa and Marwa riding on the amir’s 
horse.®® When we camped at Mina I began to feel 
relief and to recover from my malady. At the end 
of the Pilgrimage I remained at Mecca all that year, 
giving myself up entirely to pious exercises and leading 
a mo^f agreeable exigence. After the next Pilgrimage 
[of 1328] I spent another year there, and yet another 
after that. 



After the Pilgrimage at the close of the year 1330 
I set out from Mecca, making for Yemen. ..I arrived 
at Judda [Jedda], an ancient town on the sea-coail, 
which is said to have been built by the Persians. A 
strange thing happened to^me here. A blind man, 
whom I did not know and who did not know me, 
called me by name, and taking my hand said “ Where 
is the ring Now, as I left Mecca, a religious 
mendicant had met me and asked me for alms, and 
as I had nothing with me at the time, I had given 
him my ring. I told the blind man this, and he said 
“ Go back and look for it, for there are names written 
on it which contain a great secret.” I was greatly 
a^onished at him and at his knowledge of this — God 
knows who he was. At the Friday service at Judda, 
the muezzin comes and counts the number of the 
inhabitants of the town present. If they amount to 
forty the preacher holds the Friday service, but if 
they are fewer he prays the midday prayer four times, 
taking no account of the strangers present, however 
many they may be. 

We embarked here on a boat which they called a 
jalha. The Sharif Mansdr embarked on another 
and desired me to accompany him, but I refused. He 
had a number of camels in his jalba and that frightened 
me, as I had never travelled on sea before. For two 
days we sailed with a favouring wind, then it changed 
and drove us out of our course. The waves came 
overboard into our midft and the passengers fell 
grievously sick. These terrors continued until we 



emerged at a roadftead called Ra’s Dawa’ir^ between 
Aydhab and Sawakin. We landed here and found 
on the shore a reed hut shaped like a mosque, inside 
which were oilrich egg-shells filled with water. We 
drank from these and cooked food. A party of Bejds 
came to us, so we hired camels from them and travelled 
with them through a country in which there are many 
gazelles. The Bejis do not eat them so they are tame 
and do not run away from men. After two days’ 
travelling we reached the island of Sawakin [Suakin]. 
It is a large island lying about six miles off the coa^, 
and has neither water nor cereal crops nor trees. 
Water is brought to it in boats, and it has large reser- 
voirs for colledting rainwater. The flesh of odlriches, 
gazelles and wild asses is to be had in it, and it has 
many goats together with milk and butter, which is 
exported to Mecca. Their cereal is jurjir^ a kind of 
coarse grained millet, which is also exported to Mecca. 
The sultan of Sawdkin when I was there was the 
Sharif Zayd, the son of the amir of Mecca. 

We took ship at Sawakin for Yemen. No sailing 
is done on this sea at night because of the number of 
rocks in it. At nightfall they land and embark again 
at sunrise. The captain of the ship dlands condfantly 
at the prow to warn the steersman of rocks. Six days 
after leaving Sawakin we reached the town of Hali,® 
a large and populous town inhabited by two Arab 
tribes. The sultan is a man of excellent charaAer, 
a man of letters and a poet. I had accompanied him 
from Mecca to Judda, and when I reached his city 
he treated me generously and made me his guest for 
several days. I embarked in a ship of his and reached 
the township of Sarja, which is inhabited by Yemenite 
merchants.® They are generous and open-handed, 
supply food to travellers and assift pilgrims, trans- 
porting them in their ships and providing for them 
from their own funds. We Sayed at Satja only one 



night as their guests, then sailed on to the roadislead 
of al-Ahwdb and thence went up to Zabfd.'* 

Zabid is a hundred and twenty miles from San‘a, 
and is after San'a the largest and wealthier town in 
Yemen. It lies amid^ luxuriant gardens with many 
breams and fruits, such as bananas and the like. It 
is in the interior, not on the coa^l, and is one of the 
capital cities of the country. The town is large and 
populous, with palm-groves, orchards, and running 
breams — in faft, the pleasanter and moil beautiful 
town in Yemen. Its inhabitants are charming in 
their manners, upright, and handsome, and the women 
especially are exceedingly beautiful. The people of 
this town hold the famous [junketings called] subit 
an-nakhl in this wise. They go out to the palm- 
groves every Saturday during the season of the colour- 
ing and ripening of the dates.® Not a soul remains 
in the town, whether of the townsfolk or of the visitors. 
The musicians go out [to entertain them], and the 
shopkeepers go out selling fruits and sweetmeats. 
The women go in litters on camels. For all we have 
said of their exceeding beauty they are virtuous and 
possessed of excellent qualities. They show a pre- 
dilection for foreigners, and do not refuse to marry 
them, as the women in our country do. When a 
woman’s husband wishes to travel she goes out with 
him and bids him farewell, and if they have a child, 
it is she who takes care of it and supplies its wants 
until the father returns. While he is absent she 
demands nothing from him for maintenance or clothes 
or anything else, and while he Clays with her she is 
content with very little for upkeep and clothing. But 
the women never leave their own towns, and none of 
them would consent to do so, however much she were 

We went on from there to the town of Ta‘izz, the 
capital of the king of Yemen, and one of the fined 



and largesft towns in that country.® Its people are 
overbearing, insolent, and rude, as is generally the 
case in towns where kings reside. Ta'izz is made up 
of three quarters; the hrsl is the residence of the king 
and his court, the second, called “Udayna, is the 
military Nation, and the third, called al-Mahalib, is 
inhabited by the commonalty, and contains the prin- 
cipal market. The sultan of Yemen is Nur ad-Dm 
‘AH of the house of Rasiil. He uses an elaborate 
ceremonial in his audiences and progresses. The 
fourth day after our arrival was a Thursday, on which 
day the king holds a public audience. The qadi 
presented me to him and I saluted him. The way in 
which one salutes is to touch the ground with the 
index-finger, then lift it to the head and say “ May 
God prolong thy Majefty.” I did as the qadi had 
done, and the king, having ordered me to sit in front 
of him, questioned me about my country and the other 
lands and princes 1 had seen. The wazir was present, 
and the king ordered him to treat me honourably and 
arrange for my lodging.'^ After Slaying there for 
some days as his gueSt, I set out for the town of San'a, 
which was the former capital, a populous town built 
of brick and plaSler, with a temperate climate and 
good water. A Strange thing about the rain in India, 
Yemen, and Abyssinia is that it falls only in the hot 
weather, and moStly every afternoon during that 
season, so travellers always make haSle about noon 
to avoid being caught by the rain, and the townsfolk 
retire indoors, for their rains are heavy downpours. 
The whole town of San‘a is paved, so that when the 
rain falls it washes and cleans all the Streets. 

I travelled thence to ‘Aden, the port of Yemen, 
on the coaSl of the ocean. It is surrounded by moun- 
tains and can be approached from one side only; it has 
no crops, trees, or water, but has reservoirs in which 
rainwater is collefted. The Arabs often cut off the 



inhabitants from their supply of drinking-water until 
they buy them off with money and pieces of cloth. 
It is an exceedingly hot place. It is the port of the 
Indians, and to it come large vessels from Kinbayat 
[Cambay], Kawlam [Quilon], Cdliciit, and many other 
Malabar ports. There are Indian merchants living 
there, as well as Egyptian merchants. Its inhabitants 
are all either merchants, porters, or fishermen. Some 
of the merchants are immensely rich, so rich that 
sometimes a single merchant is sole owner of a large 
ship with all it contains, and this is a subjedl of orienta- 
tion and rivalry amongst them. In spite of that they 
are pious, humble, upright, and generous in charadler, 
treat Grangers well, give liberally to devotees, and pay 
in full the tithes due to God. 

I took ship at ‘Aden, and after four days at sea 
reached Zayla' [Zeila], the town of the Berberah, who 
are a negro people. Their land is a desert extending 
for two months’ journey from Zayla' to Maqdashaw. 
Zayla‘ is a large city with a great bazaar, but it is the 
dirtien, mofr abominable, and mofr frinking town in 
the world. The reason for the french is the quantity 
of its fish and the blood of the camels that they slaughter 
in the frreets. When we got there, we chose to spend 
the night at sea, in spite of its extreme roughness, 
rather than in the town, because of its filth. 

On leaving Zayla' we sailed for fifteen days and came 
to Maqdashaw [Mogdishu], which is an enormous 
town. Its inhabitants are merchants and have many 
camels, of which they slaughter hundreds every day 
[for food]. When a vessel reaches the port, it is met 
by sumhuqSf which are small boats, in each of which 
are a number of young men, each carrying a covered 
dish containing food. He presents this to one of the 
merchants on the ship saying “ This is my guefr,” and 
all the others do the same. Each merchant on dis- 
embarking goes only to the house of the young man 



who is his ho^t, except those who have made frequent 
journeys to the town and know its people well; these 
live where they please. The hoil then sells his goods 
for him and buys for him, and if anyone buys anything 
from him at too low a price or sells to him in the 
absence of his ho^, the sale is regarded by them as 
invalid. This praftice is of great advantage to them. 
When these young men came on board our vessel, 
one of them approached me. My companions said 
“ This man is not a merchant, but a theologian,” 
whereupon the young man called out to his friends 
“ This is the qadl’s guest.” Amongft them was one 
of the qddi’s men, who went to tell him of this, so 
he came down to the beach with a number of students, 
and sent one of them to me. When I disembarked 
with my party, I saluted him and his party, and he 
said “ In the name of God, let us go and salute the 
Shaykh.” Thereupon I said “ And who is this 
Shaykh ?” He answered “ The sultan,” for they call 
the sultan ‘ the Shaykh.’ I said to him “ When I 
have settled down I shall go to him,” and he replied 
“ It is the custom that whenever a theologian, or sharif, 
or man of religion comes here, he mu^ see the sultan 
before taking his lodging.” So I went to him as 
they asked. The sultan, whose name is Abii Bakr, 
is of Berberah origin, and he talks in the Maqdishi 
language, though he knows Arabic. When we 
reached the palace and news of my arrival was sent 
in, a eunuch came out with a plate containing betel 
leaves and areca nuts. He gave me ten leaves and 
a few nuts, the same to the qddl, and the reft to my 
companions and the qddl’s ftudents, and then said 
” Our mafter commands that he be lodged in the 
ftudents’ house.” Later on the same eunuch brought 
food from the ‘ Shaykh’s ’ palace. With him came 
one of the wazi'rs, whose duty it was to look after the 
guefts, and who said “ Our mafter greets you and bids 


you welcome.” We flayed there three daiys, food 
being brought to us three times a day, and on the 
fourth, a Friday, the qadi and one of the wazirs brought 
me a set of garments. We then went to the mosque 
and prayed behind the [sultan’s] screen.® When the 
‘ Shaykh ’ came out I greeted him and he bade me 
welcome. He put on his sandals, ordering the qadi 
and myself to do the same, and set out for his palace 
on foot. All the other people walked barefooted. 
Over his head were carried four canopies of coloured 
silk, each surmounted by a golden bird. After the 
palace ceremonies were over, all those present saluted 
and retired. 

I embarked at Maqdashaw for the Sawdhil country, 
with the objeft of visiting the town of Kulwa [Kilwa, 
Quiloa] in the land of the Zanj.® We came to Mam- 
bas& [Mombasa], a large island two days* journey by 
sea from the Sawahil country.^® It possesses no 
territory on the mainland. They have fruit trees on 
the island, but no cereals, which have to be brought 
to them from the Sawdhil. Their food consi^s chiefly 
of bananas and flsh. The inhabitants are pious, 
honourable, and upright, and they have well-built 
wooden mosques. We stayed one night in this island, 
and then pursued our jotirney to Kulwi, which is a 
large town on the coail. The majority of its inhabi- 
tants are Zanj, jet-black in colour, and with tattoo- 
marks on their faces. I was told by a merchant that 
the town of Sufiila lies a fortnight’s journey [south] 
from Kulw4, and that gold duif is brought to Sufala 
from Ytifi in the country of the Limis, which is a 
month’s journey distant rrom it.^^ Kulwi is a very 
fine and subilantially built town, and all its buildings 
are of wood. Its inhabitants are constantly engaged 
in military expeditions, for their country is contiguous 
to the heathen Zanj. The sultan at the time of my 
visit was Abu’l-Muzaifar Hasan, who was noted for 



nis gifts and generosity. He used to devote the fifth 
part of the booty made on his expeditions to pious 
and charitable purposes, as is prescribed in the Koran, “ 
and I have seen him give the clothes off his back to 
a mendicant who asked him for them. When this 
liberal and virtuous sultan died, he was succeeded by 
his brother Diwiid, who was at the opposite pole from 
him in this respedl. Whenever a petitioner came to 
him, he would say “ He who gave is dead, and left 
nothing behind him to be given.” Visitors would 
^ay at his court for months on end, and finally he 
would make them some small gift, so that at la^ 
people gave up going to his gate. 

From Kulwa we sailed to Dhafari [Dhofar], at the 
extremity of Yemen. Thoroughbred horses are ex- 
ported from here to India, the passage taking a month 
with a favouring wind. Dhafari is a month’s journey 
from ‘Aden across the desert, and is situated in a 
desolate locality without villages or dependencies. Its 
market is one of the dirtiest in the world and the mo^ 
pestered by flies because of the quantity of fruit and 
fish sold there. Mo^l of the fish are of the kind 
called sardines, which are extremely fat in that country. 
A curious fa(fl is that these sardines are the sole food 
of their beasts and flocks, a thing which I have seen 
nowhere else. Mo^l of the sellers [in the market] 
are female slaves, who wear black garments. The 
inhabitants cultivate millet and irrigate it from very 
deep wells, the water from which is raised in a large 
bucket drawn up by a number of ropes attached to 
the waiils of slaves. Their principal food is rice, 
imported from India. Its population consi^s of 
merchants who live entirely on trade. When a vessel 
arrives they take the mafter, captain and writer in 
procession to the sultan's palace and entertain the 
entire ship’s company for three days in order to gain 
the goodwill of the shipma^ers. Another curious 

113 I 


thing is that its people closely resemble the people of 
Northweil Africa in their cuftoms. In the neighbour- 
hood of the town there are orchards with many banana- 
trees. The bananas are of immense size; one which 
was weighed in my presence scaled twelve ounces and 
was pleasant to the tafte and very sweet. They grow 
also betel-trees and coco-palms, which are found only 
in India and the town of Dhafari.^® Since we have 
mentioned these trees, we shall describe them and 
their properties here. 

Betel-trees are grown like vines on cane trellises or 
else trained up coco-palms. They have no fruit and 
are grown only for their leaves. The Indians have 
a high opinion of betel, and if a man visits a friend 
and the latter gives him five leaves of it, you would 
think he had given him the world, especially if he is 
a prince or notable. A gift of betel is a far greater 
honour than a gift of gold and silver. It is used in 
this way. Firft one takes areca-nuts, which are like 
nutmegs, crushes them into small bits and chews them. 
Then the betel leaves are taken, a little chalk is put 
on them, and they are chewed with the areca-nuts. 
They sweeten the breath and aid digestion, prevent 
the disagreeable effefts of drinking water on an empty 
ftomach, and stimulate the faculties. 

The coco-palm is one of the ^rangeft of trees, and 
looks exaftly like a date-palm. The nut resembles 
a man’s head, for it has marks like eyes and a mouth, 
and the contents, when it is green, are like the brain. 
It has fibre like hair, out of which they make ropes, 
which they use inSlead of nails to bind their ships 
together and also as cables. Amongft its properties 
are that it strengthens the body, fattens, and adds 
redness to the face. If it is cut open when it is green 
it gives a liquid deliciously sweet and fresh. After 
drinking this one takes a piece of the rind as a spoon 
and scoops out the pulp inside the nut. This taSles 



like an egg that has been broiled but not quite cooked, 
and is nourishing. I lived on it for a year and a half 
when I was in the Maidive islands. One of its pecu- 
liarities is that oil, milk and honey are extrafted from 
it. The honey is made in this fashion. They cut 
a ^lalk on which the fruit grows, leaving two fingers’ 
length, and on this they tie a small bowl, into which 
the sap drips. If this has been done in the morning, 
a servant climbs up again in the evening with two 
bowls, one filled with water. He pours into the other 
the sap that has collefted, then washes the ^lalk, cuts 
off a small piece, and ties on another bowl. The same 
thing is repeated next morning until a good deal of 
the sap has been collefted, when it is cooked until 
it thickens. It then makes an excellent honey, and 
the merchants of India, Yemen, and China buy it and 
take it to their own countries, where they manufafture 
sweetmeats from it. The milk is made by Sleeping the 
contents of the nut in water, which takes on the colour 
and taile of milk and is used along with food. To 
make the oil, the ripe nuts are peeled and the contents 
dried in the sun, then cooked in cauldrons and the oil 
extradled. They use it for lighting and dip bread 
in it, and the women put it on their hair. 

We left Dhafari for ‘Omdn in a small ship belonging 
to a man from Masira. On the second day of our 
journey we disembarked at the roadstead of Hdsik,^^ 
which is inhabited by Arab fishermen. Here they 
have a great quantity of frankincense trees. They 
have thin leaves out of which drips, when they are 
slashed, sap like milk. This turns into a gum, which 
is the frankincense. The people living in this port 
are dependent on fishing for their food, and the fish 
they catch is the lukham, which is like a dogfish. 
They slice these fish up, dry them in the sun and use 
them for food, and build their houses with the fish 
bones, using camel skins for roofs. 



Six days later we reached the Island of Birds, which 
is uninhabited. We ca^ anchor and went on shore, 
and found it full of birds like blackbirds, only bigger. 
The sailors brought some of their eggs, cooked and 
ate them, then caught a number of the birds which 
they cooked without previously slitting their throats.^® 
My food during the voyage consi^ed of dried dates 
and fish, for they used to fish every morning and even- 
ing. The fish they caught were cut up into pieces 
and broiled, and every person on board received a 
portion, no preference being shown to anyone, not 
even to the maSer. We celebrated the Pilgrimage 
Fe^ival at sea, being ilormtossed all that day from 
sunrise until sunrise the next day, and in danger of 
foundering. A ship in front of us was sunk, and only 
one man escaped by swimming after great eflForts. 
We called next at the island of Masira, a large island 
whose inhabitants live entirely on fish,“ but we did 
not land as the road^ead is at some diftance from the 
shore. Besides I had taken a dislike to these people 
after seeing them eat birds without slitting their 

We sailed for a day and a night from Masira and 
reached the roadstead of a large village called Siir, 
from which we could see the town of Qalhat, situated 
on the slope of a hill apparently close at hand." As 
we had anchored juil after midday, I desired to walk 
to Qdhat and spend the night there, for I had taken 
a dislike to the company on the ship. On enquiry, 
I was told that I should get there in the mid-afternoon, 
so I hired one of the sailors as a guide. An Indian 
named Khidr, who had been one of my fellow-pas- 
sengers, came with me, and the reft of my party were 
left on board with my goods to rejoin me the next 
day. I took with me some of my clothes, giving 
them to the guide to carry to spare myself fatigue 
and myself carried a lance. Now the guide wished 


to iteal the clothes, so he led us to an inlet of the sea 
and set about crossing it with the clothes. I said 
to him “You cross over alone and leave the clothes; 
if we can cross we shall, and if not we shall look for 
a ford higher up.” He drew back then, and after- 
wards we saw some men swimming across, so we 
were convinced that he had wanted to drown us and 
get away with the clothes. Though I made a show 
of vivacity I was on my guard and kept brandishing 
the lance, so that the guide became frightened of me. 
We then came on a waterless plain and suffered greatly 
from thirft, but God sent us a horseman with a com- 
pany of men who gave us to drink, and we went on, 
thinking that the town was close at hand, while 
aftually we were separated from it by nullahs in which 
we walked for miles. In the evening the guide wished 
to lead us towards the shore, where there is no road, 
for the coa^t is rocky, hoping that we should get ^uck 
among the rocks and he would make away with the 
clothes, but I said that we should take no road but 
the one that we were on. When night fell, as I was 
afraid of being mole^ed on the road and did not 
know exaftly how far we ftill were from the town, I 
decided that we should go aside from the road and 
sleep. Although I was tired out I pretended to be 
full of vigour, and put the clothes under my garments 
and grasped my lance in my hand. My companion 
was worn out, and both he and the guide slept, but 
I flayed awake and every time the guide moved I 
spoke to him to show him that I was awake. In the 
morning I sent the guide to fetch us some water and 
my companion took the clothes. We had ilill some 
ravines and nullahs to cross, but the guide brought 
us water and eventually we reached Qsdhdt in a Hate 
of extreme fatigue. My feet were so swollen inside 
my shoes that the blood was almoA Parting from 
under the nails. Then, as a final touch to oiu: mis- 



fortunes, the gatekeeper insi^ed on taking me to be 
interrogated by the governor of the town. The 
governor, however, was an excellent man and very 
kind, and he put me up. I stayed with him for six 
days, during which I was unable to walk because of 
the soreness of my feet. The town of Qalhat lies 
on the shore; it has fine bazaars and an exceedingly 
beautiful mosque, the walls of which are decorated 
with Qdshini tilework, and which occupies a lofty 
situation overlooking the town and the harbour. I 
ate fish there of a sort which I have found in no other 
country. I preferred it to any kind of flesh and used 
to eat nothing else. They broil it on the leaves of 
trees and serve it with rice, which is brought to them 
by sea from India. The inhabitants are traders and 
live [entirely] on what comes to them from the Indian 
Ocean. Whenever a vessel arrives at their town, they 
show the greater joy. 

We then set out for the country of ‘Oman and arrived 
there after six days’ travelling.’** It is a fertile land, 
with dlreams, trees, orchards, palm gardens, and fruit 
trees of various kinds. Its capital, the town of Nazwu, 
lies at the foot of a mountain and has fine bazaars and 
splendid clean mosques. Its inhabitants make a habit 
of eating meals in the comts of the mosques, every 
person bringing what he has, and all sitting down to 
the meal together, and travellers join in with them. 
They are very warlike and brave, always fighting 
between themselves. The sultan of ‘Oman is an 
Arab of the tribe of Azd, and is called Abd Muham- 
mad, which is the title given to every sultan who 
governs ‘Omdn.“ The towns on the coa^t are for the 
moft part under the government of Hormuz. 

I travelled next to the country of Hormuz. Hormuz 
is a town on the coaft, called also Mdghi^lan, and in 
the sea facing it and nine miles from shore is New 
Hormuz, which is an island.^ The town on it is 



called Jarawn. It is a large and fine city, with busy 
markets, as it is the port from which the wares from 
India and Sind are despatched to the ‘Irdqs, Fdrs and 
Khurasan. The island is saline, and the inhabitants 
live on fish and dates exported to them from Basra. 
They say in their tongue KJiurmd wamaU liti pddi- 
shdhi^ which means “ Dates and fish are a royal dish.” 
Water is a valuable commodity in this island. They 
have wells and artificial reservoirs to colleft rainwater 
at some distance from the town. The inhabitants go 
there with waterskins, which they fill and carry on 
their backs to the shore, load them on boats and bring 
them to the town. A Grange thing I saw there was 
a fish’s head at the gate of the cathedral mosque as 
large as a hillock and with eyes like doors, and you 
would see people entering by one eye and coming out 
by the other. The sultan of Hormuz is Qutb ad-Di'n 
Tahamtan, a moft generous and humble ruler, who 
makes a habit of visiting every theologian or pious 
man or sharif who comes to his town and of paying 
to each his due. We found him engaged in a war 
with his nephews, who were in revolt. We ^ayed 
there sixteen days, and when we wished to leave I 
said to one of my companions “ How can we go away 
without seeing this sultan ?” So we went to the 
house of the wazir, who took me by the hand and went 
with me to the palace. I saw there an old man wearing 
skimpy and dirty garments with a turban on his head 
and a kerchief as a girdle. The wazir saluted him 
and I did the same, not knowing that he was the king, 
and then I began to converse with a person I knew 
who was standing beside him. When the wazir 
enlightened me I was covered with confusion and made 
my excuses. The king rose and went into the palace, 
followed by the generals and minivers and when I 
entered with the wazir we found him sitting on his 
throne with the same shabby clothes on. He asked 



me about myself and my journey and the kings I had 
seen, then, after food had been served, he rose and 1 
said farewell to him and went away. 

We set out from Hormuz to visit a saintly man in 
the town of Khunjubal, and after crossing the strait, 
hired mounts from the Turkmens who live in that 
country. No travelling can be done there except in 
their company, because of their bravery and knowledge 
of the roads. In these parts there is a desert four 
days’ journey in extent, which is the haunt of Arab 
brigands, and in which the deadly samiim blows in 
June and July. All who are overtaken by it perish, 
and I was told that when a man has fallen a vidlim 
to this wind and his friends attempt to wash his body 
[for burial], all his limbs fall apart.^’^ All along the 
road there are graves of persons who have succumbed 
there to this wind. We used to travel by night, and 
halt from sunrise until late afternoon in the shade of 
the trees. This desert was the scene of the exploits 
of the famous brigand Jamil al-Liik, who had under 
him a band of Arab and Persian horsemen. He used 
to build hospices and entertain travellers with the 
money that he gained by robbery, and it is said that 
he used to claim that he never employed violence 
except against those who did not pay the tithes on 
their property. No king could do anything againil 
him, but afterwards he repented and gave himself up 
to ascetic pradtices, and his grave is now a place of 
pilgrimage. After traversing these deserts we reached 
Kawriftan, a small town with running streams and 
orchards and extremely hot.“ From there we marched 
through another desert like the former for three days 
and reached the town of Lar,®® a large town with 
perennial ftreams and orchards and fine bazaars. We 
lodged in a convent inhabited by a group of darwfshes 
who have the following cuftom. They assemble in 
the convent every afternoon and then go round the 



houses in the town; at each house they are given one 
or two loaves and from these they supply the needs 
of travellers. The householders are used to this 
praftice and make provision for the extra loaves, in 
order to assist the darwishes in their di^ribution of 
food. There is a Turkmen sultan in the town of Lar, 
who sent us a hospitality gift,®^ but we did not visit 
or see him. 

We went on to the town of Khunjubil,^ the resi- 
dence of the Shaykh Abii Dulaf, whom we had come 
to visit. We lodged in his hermitage and he treated 
me kindly and sent me food and fruit by one of his 
sons. From there we journeyed to the town of Qays, 
which is also called Siraf.“ The people of Siraf are 
Persians of noble ^lock, and among^l them there is 
a tribe of Arabs, who dive for pearls. The pearl 
fisheries are situated between Siraf and Bahrayn in 
a calm bay like a wide river. During the months of 
April and May a large number of boats come to this 
place with divers and merchants from Firs, Bahrayn 
and Qathif. Before diving the diver puts on his face 
a sort of tortoiseshell mask and a tortoiseshell clip on 
his nose, then he ties a rope round his wai^l and dives. 
They differ in their endurance under water, some of 
them being able to ^tay under for an hour or two 
hours or less.^ When he reaches the bottom of the 
sea he finds the shells there ifuck in the sand between 
small ilones, and pulls then out by hand or cuts them 
loose with a knife which he has for the purpose, and 
puts them in a leather bag slung round his neck. 
When his breath becomes reftrifted he pulls the rope, 
and the man holding the rope on the shore feels the 
movement and pulls him up into the boat. The b^ 
is taken from him and the shells are opened. Inside 
them are found pieces of flesh which are cut out with 
a knife, and when they come into contact with the air 
solidify and turn into pearls. These are then collefted, 



large and small together; the sultan takes his fifth and 
the remainder are bought by the merchants who are 
there in the boats. Mo^l of them are the creditors 
of the divers, and they take the pearls in quittance of 
their debt or so much of it as is their due. 

From Sfraf we travelled to the town of Bahrayn, a 
fine large town with orchards, trees and streams. 
Water is easy to get at there; all one has to do is to 
scoop the ground with one’s hands.®® It is very hot 
and sandy, and the sand often encroaches on some of 
its settlements. From Bahrayn we went to the town 
of al-Quthayf [Qathif], a fine large town inhabited by 
Arab tribes who are out-and-out Shi'ites and openly 
proclaim it, fearing nobody. Next we journeyed to 
the town of Hajar, which is now called al-Hasd.®® 
It has become the subjeft of a proverb “ Carrying dates 
to Hajar,” because there are more palms there than 
in any other diftrift, and they even feed their beadls 
with the dates. We travelled thence to the town of 
Yamdma,®® in company with the governor of which I 
went on to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. This 
was in the year 1332, the same year that al-Malik 
an-Ndsir, the sultan of Egypt, made his ladl pilgrimage. 
He made munificent gifts to the inhabitants of the 
twin shrines [Mecca and Madina] and to the devotees 
living there, and on the same journey he put to death 
by poisoning the amir Ahmad, who, it is said, was 
his own son, and his principal amir Bektimur the cup- 
bearer, on being warned that they were plotting to 
assassinate him and seize the throne. 




After the pilgrimage I went to Judda, intending to 
take ship to Yemen and India, but that plan fell 
through and I could get no one to join me. I flayed 
at Judda about forty days. There was a ship there 
going to Qusayr [Kosair], and I went on board to 
see what ftate it was in, but I was not satisfied. This 
was an adl of providence, for the ship sailed and foun- 
dered in the open sea, and very few escaped. After- 
wards I took ship for Aydhab, but we were driven 
to a roadstead called Ra’s Dawa’ir [p. 107], from 
which we made our way with some Bejas through 
the desert to Aydhab. Thence we travelled to Edfu 
and down the Nile to Cairo, where I ftayed for a few 
days, then set out for Syria and passed for the second 
time through Gaza, Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramlah, Acre, 
Tripoli, and Jabala to Ladhiqi'ya. 

At Ladhiqiya we embarked on a large galley belong- 
ing to the Genoese, the mailer of which was called 
Martalmfn, and set out for the country of the Turks 
known as Bildd ar-Rdm [Anatolia], because it was in 
ancient times their land.^ Later on it was conquered 
by the Muslims, but there are ilill large numbers of 
Chriilians there under the government of the Turkmen 
Muslims. We were ten nights at sea, and the Chris- 
tian treated us kindly and took no passage money 
from us. On the tenth day we reached ‘Alijrd, where 
the province begins. This country is one of the beil 
in the world ; in it God has united the good features 
dispersed throughout other lands. Its people are the 
moil comely of men, the cleaneil in their dress, the 



moil exquisite in their food, and the kindlicil folk in 
creation. Wherever we ilopped in this land, whether 
at a hospice or a private house, our neighbours both 
men and women (these do not veil themselves) came 
to ask after us. When we left them they bade us 
farewell as though they were our relatives and our own 
folk, and you would see the women weeping. They 
bake bread only once a week, and the men used to bring 
us gifts of warm bread on the day it was baked, along 
with delicious viands, saying “ The women have sent 
this to you and beg your prayers.” All the inhabitants 
are orthodox Sunnis; there are no sedlarians or heretics 
among^ them, but they eat hashish [Indian hemp], 
and think no harm of it. 

The city of ‘Aldya is a large town on the seacoaisl.^ 
It is inhabited by Turkmens, and is visited by the 
merchants of Cairo, Alexandria, and Syria. The 
diilridl is well-wooded, and wood is exported from 
there to Alexandria and Damietta, whence it is carried 
to the other cities of Egypt. There is a magnificent 
and formidable citadel, built by Sultan ‘Ala ad-Din, 
at the upper end of the town. The qddi of the town 
rode out with me to meet the king of ‘Alaya, who is 
Yiisuf Bek, son of Qaraman, meaning king in their 
language. He lives at a di^ance of ten miles from 
the city. We found him sitting by himself on the 
top of a hillock by the shore, with the amirs and wazirs 
below him, and the troops on his right and left. He 
has his hair dyed black. I saluted him and answered 
his queftions regarding my visit to his town, and after 
my withdrawal he sent me a present of money. 

From ‘Aliyd I went to Antdliya [Adalia], a modi 
beautiful city.® It covers an immense area, and 
though of vadl bulk is one of the modi attradlive towns 
to be seen anywhere, besides being exceedingly popu- 
lous and well laid out. Each sedlion of the inhabitants 
lives in a separate quarter. The Chridlian merchants 



live in a quarter of the town known as the Mina [the 
Port], and are surrounded by a wall, the gates of 
which are shut upon them from without at night and 
during the Friday service.'* The Greeks, who were 
its former inhabitants, live by themselves in another 
quarter, the Jews in another, and the king and his 
court and mamlviks in another, each of these quarters 
being walled off likewise. The reft of the Muslims 
live in the main city. Round the whole town and all 
the quarters mentioned there is another great wall. 
The town contains many orchards and produces fine 
fruits, including an admirable kind of apricot, called 
by them Qamar ad-Dln, which has a sweet almond 
in its kernel. This fruit is dried and exported to 
Egypt, where it is regarded as a great luxury. 

We ftayed here at the college mosque of the town, 
the principal of which was Shaykh Shihab ad-Dln 
al-Hamawi. Now in all the lands inhabited by the 
Turkmens in Anatolia, in every diftrift, town, and 
village, there are to be found members of the organi- 
zation known as the Akhiya or Young Brotherhood. 
Nowhere in the world will you find men so eager to 
welcome ftrangers, so prompt to serve food and to 
satisfy the wants of others, and so ready to suppress 
injuftice and to kill [tyrannical] agents of police and 
the miscreants who join with them. A Young 
Brother, or akhi in their language, is one who is 
chosen by all the members of his trade [guild], or 
by other young unmarried men, or those who live in 
ascetic retreat, to be their leader. This organization 
is known also as the Futiwa, or Order of Youth. 
The leader builds a hospice and furnishes it with rugs, 
lamps, and other necessary appliances. The members 
of his community work during the day to gain their 
livelihood, and bring him what they have earned in 
the late afternoon. With this they buy fruit, food, 
and the other things which the hospice requires for 



their use. If a traveller comes to the town that day 
they lodge him in their hospice; these provisions serve 
for his entertainment as their gue^l, and he ^ays with 
them until he goes away. If there are no travellers 
they themselves assemble to partake of the food, and 
having eaten it they sing and dance. On the morrow 
they return to their occupations and bring their earn- 
ings to their leader in the late afternoon. The 
members are called filydn (youths), and their leader, 
as we have said, is the akhO’ 

^ The day after our arrival at Antdliya one of these 
youths came to Shaykh Shihdb ad-Din al-Hamawi 
and spoke to him in Turkish, which I did not under- 
hand at that time. He was wearing old clothes and 
had a felt bonnet on his head. The shaykh said to 
me “ Do you know what he is saying “ No ” 
said I “ I do not know.” He answered “ He is in- 
viting you and your company to eat a meal with him.” 
I was ahonished but I said “ Very well,” and when 
the man had gone I said to the shaykh “ He is a poor 
man, and is not able to entertain us, and we do not 
like to be a burden on him.” The shaykh burh out 
laughing and said “ He is one of the shaykhs of the 
Young Brotherhood. He is a cobbler, and a man 
of generous disposition. His companions, about two 
hundred men belonging to different trades, have made 
him their leader and have built a hospice to entertain 

their guefts. All that they earn by day they spend 
at night.” J 1 1 V 

After I had prayed the sunset prayer the same man 
came back for us and took us to the hospice. We 
found [ourselves in] a fine building, carpeted with 
beautifuj Turkish rugs and lit by a large number of 
^andeliers of ‘IrAqi glass. A number of young men 
flood in rows in the hall, wearing long mantles and 
boots, and each had a knife about two cubits long 
attached to a girdle around his waifl. On their heads 



were white woollen bonnets, and attached to the peak 
of these bonnets was a piece of ^uff a cubit long and 
two fingers in breadth. When they took their seats, 
every man removed his bonnet and set it down in 
front of him, and kept on his head another ornamental 
bonnet of silk or other material. In the centre of 
their hall was a sort of platform placed there for 
visitors. When we took our places, they served up 
a great banquet followed by fruits and sweetmeats, 
after which they began to sing and to dance. We 
were filled with admiration and were greatly aftonished 
at their openhandedness and generosity. We took 
leave of them at the close of the night and left them 
in their hospice. 

The sultan of Antiliya, Khidr Bek, son of Yiinus 
Bek, was ill when we reached the town, but we visited 
him on his sick-bed. He spoke to us very kindly, 
and when we took leave of him, sent us a gift of 

We travelled on to the town of Burddr [Buldur], 
a small place with many orchards and ftreams, and a 
ftrong fortress on a hilltop. We put up as the guefts 
of the preacher there. The brotherhood held a 
meeting and wished us to ftay with them, but he would 
not hear of it, so they prepared a banquet for us in 
a garden belonging to one of them and conduced us 
to the place. It was marvellous to see the joy and 
gladness with which they received us, though they 
were ignorant of our language and we of theirs, and 
there was no one to interpret between us. We ftayed 
with them one day and then took our leave. 

From Burddr we went on to Sabarta [Isparta], and 
then to Akrfdiir [Egirdir], a great and populous town 
with fine bazaars. There is a lake with sweet water 
here on which boats go in two days to Aqshahr and 
Baqshshr and other towns and villages.® The sultan 
of Akrfdiir is one of the principal rulers in this country. 



He is a man of upright conduft and attends the after- 
noon prayer at the cathedral mosque every day. 
While we were there his son died and after his burial 
the sultan and the indents went out to his grave for 
three days. I went out with them the second day 
and the sultan, seeing me walking, sent me a horse 
with his apologies. On reaching the madrasa I sent 
back the horse, but he returned it saying “ I gave it 
as a gift, not as a loan.” He sent me also a robe and 
some money. 

We left there for the town of Qul Hisar [“ Lake 
Fortress ”], a small town completely surrounded by 
reed-grown water.’ The only way to it is by a sort 
of bridge between the rushes and the water, admitting 
only one horseman at a time. The town, which is 
on a hill in the mid^ of the lake, is impregnable. 
The sultan, who is the brother of the sultan of 
Akridiir, was absent when we arrived, but after we 
had ^ayed there some days he came back and treated 
us kindly, supplying us with horses and provisions. 
He sent some horsemen to escort us to the town of 
Ladhiq [Denizli], as the country was infeiled by a 
troop of brigands called Jarmiydn fKermian] who 
possess a town called Kdtdhiya. Lddhiq is a mo^l 
important town, with seven cathedral mosques. In it 
are mamxfaftured matchless cotton fabrics with gold 
embroidered edges, which have a very long life on 
account of the excellence of the cotton and of the 
spinning. Moft of the workers are Greek women, 
for there are many Greeks here, who are subjedl to 
the Muslims and pay a poll tax to the sultan. The 
di^linftive mark of the Greeks is their tall peaked 
hats, red or white; their women wear capacious 
turbans. As we entered the town we passed through 
a bazaar. Some men got down from their booths 
and took our horses’ bridles, then some others objefted 
to their a6tion and the altercation went on so long 


that some of them drew knives. We of course did 
not know what they were saying and were afraid of 
them, thinking they were those brigands and that 
this was their town. At length God sent us a man 
who knew Arabic, and he explained that they were 
members of two branches of the “ Young Brother- 
hood,” each of whom wanted us to lodge with them. 
We were amazed at their generosity. It was decided 
finally that they should ca^ lots, and that we should 
lodge fir^ with the winner. This being done the 
prior of the firit hospice, Brother Sinan, condufted us 
to the bath and himself looked after me; afterwards 
they served up a great banquet with sweetmeats and 
many fruits. Some verses of the Koran were then read 
and after that they began to chant their litany and 
to dance. The next day we had an audience of the 
sultan, who is one of the principal rulers in Anatolia, 
and on our return were met by Brother Tiimdn, the 
prior of the other hospice, who entertained us even 
better than their friends had done, and sprinkled us 
with rose water when we came out of the bath. 

We flayed at Ladhiq for some time, in view of the 
dangers of the road; then, as a caravan was ready to 
set out, we travelled with them for a day and part 
of the next night and reached the caiUe of Tawds 
[Davas]. We spent the night outside it and next 
morning, on coming to the gate, we were interrogated 
from the top of the wall. The commander then came 
out with his troops, and after they had explored the 
neighbourhood for fear of the robbers, their animals 
were driven out. This is their constant praftice. 
From there we went on to Mughla and thence to 
Milas, one of the finefh and moil important towns in 
the country. We lodged in a convent of one of the 
Young Brotherhood, who outdid by far all that our 
previous hoils had done in the way of generosity, 
hospitality, taking us to the bath, and other praise- 

^^9 K 


worthy afts. The sultan of Mflis is an excellent 
ruler, and keeps company with theologians. He gave 
us gifts and supplied us with horses and provisions. 

After receiving the sultan’s gift we left for the city 
of Qiiniya [Konia]. It is a large town with fine 
buildings, and has many streams and fruit-gardens. 
The ilreets are exceedingly broad, and the bazaars 
admirably planned, with each craft in a bazaar of its 
own. It is said that this city was built by Alexander. 
It is now in the territories of Sultan Badr ad-Din ibn 
Qaramin, whom we shall mention presently, but it 
has sometimes been captured by the king of Trdq, 
as it lies close to his territories in this country. We 
^ayed there at the hospice of the qddi, who is called 
Ibn Qalam Shdh, and is a member of the Futiwa. 
His hospice is very large indeed, and he has a great 
many disciples. They trace their afiEiliation to the 
Futuwa back to the Caliph ‘AH, and the di^inftive 
garment of the order in their case is the trousers,® 
juil as the Siifis wear the patched robe. This qadl 
showed us even greater consideration and hospitality 
than our former benefaflors, and sent his son with us 
in his place to the bath. 

In this town is the mausoleum of the pious shaykh 
Jaldl ad-Dfn [ar-Rdmi], known as Mawldnd [“ Our 
Mailer ”]. He was held in high eifeem, and there 
is a brotherhood in Anatolia who claim spiritual 
affiliation with him and are called after him the 
Jaldliya? The ilory goes that Jaldl ad-Dfn was in 
early life a theologian and a professor. One day a 
sweetmeat seller came into the college-mosque with 
a tray of sweetmeats on his head, and having given 
him a piece went out again. The shaykh left his 
lesson to follow him and disappeared for some years. 
Then he came back, but with a disordered mind, 
speaking nothing but Persian verses which no one 
could underftand. His disciples followed him and 



wrote down his produftions, which they collefted into 
a book called The Mathnawi. This book is greatly 
revered by the people of this country; they meditate 
on it, teach it, and read it in their religious houses 
on Thursday nights. From Qiiniya we travelled to 
Ldranda [Karaman], the capital of the sultan of 
Qaraman. I met this sultan outside the town as he 
was coming back from hunting, and on my dismounting 
to him, he dismounted also. It is the cudlom of the 
kings of this country to dismount if a visitor dismounts 
to them. This adlion on his part pleases them and 
they show him greater honour; if on the other hand he 
greets them while on horseback they are displeased 
and the visitor forfeits their goodwill in consequence. 
This happened to me once with one of these kings. 
After I had greeted the sultan we rode back to the 
town together, and he showed me the greatest 

We then entered the territories of the king of ‘Irdq, 
visiting Aqsara [Akserai], where they make sheep’s 
wool carpets which are exported as far as India, China, 
and the lands of the Turks, and journeyed thence 
through Nakda [Nigda] to Qaysdriya, which is one of 
the largest towns in the country. In this town resides 
one of the Viceroy’s khitiins, who is related to the 
king of ‘Iraq, and like all the sultan’s relatives has 
the title of Agha^ which means Great. We visited 
her and she treated us courteously, ordering a meal 
to be served for us, and when we withdrew sent us 
a horse with saddle and bridle and a sum of money. 
At all these towns we lodged in a convent belonging 
to the Young Brotherhood. It is the custom in this 
country that in towns that are not the residence of 
a sultan one of the Young Brothers a£ts as governor, 
exercising the same authority and appearing in public 
with the same retinue as a king. We travelled on 
to Siwds, the larged town in the country and residence 


of the king of ‘Iraq’s viceroy, ‘Ala ad-Din Artana. 
We were met near the town by a party belonging to 
the “ Young Brother ” Ahmad, and a little later by 
a party of the “ Young Brother " Chelebi, who invited 
us to ilay with them, but we were already pledged 
to the former. Our hofts showed the utmost joy on 
our arrival at their convent, and treated us with the 
moil perfedl hospitality. We visited the amir ‘Ala 
ad-Dln Artana who, speaking in excellent Arabic, 
asked me about the countries I had visited and their 
sovereigns, and afterwards sent us gifts. When we 
left Sfwds he wrote to his lieutenants in the towns to 
give us hospitality and to supply us with provisions. 
We journeyed thence to AmAsiya, a large and beautiful 
town with broad ilreets, Kumish [Gumiish Khanah], 
a populous town which is visited by merchants from 
‘Iraq and Syria and has silver mines, Arzanjan, where 
Armenians form the greater part of the population, 
and Arz ar-Riim. This is a vaft town but is moilly 
in ruins as the result of a civil war between two Turk- 
men tribes. We lodged there at the convent of the 
“ Young Brother ” Tiiman, who was said to be more 
than a hundred and thirty years old. I saw him 
going about on foot supported by a ilafF, with his 
faculties unimpaired and assiduous in praying at the 
Elated times. All these towns belong to the king of 

We went on to the town of Birgi^° where we had 
been told there was a distinguished professor called 
Muhyi ad-Dfn. On reaching the madrasa we found 
him juSl arriving, mounted on a lively mule and wearing 
ample garments with gold embroidery, with his slaves 
and servants on either side of him and preceded by 
the Students. He gave us a kindly welcome and 
invited me to visit him after the sunset prayer. I 
found him in a reception hall in his garden, which 
had a Stream of water flowing through a white marble 

13 ' 2 > 


basin with a rim of enamelled tiles. He was occupying 
a raised seat covered with embroidered cloths, having 
a number of his students and slaves standing on either 
side of him, and when I saw him I took him for a 
king. He rose to greet me and made me sit next 
him on the dais, after which we were served with food 
and returned to the madrasa. The sultan of Birgi 
was then at his summer quarters on a mountain close 
by and on receiving news of me from the professor 
sent for me. When I arrived with the professor he 
sent his two sons to ask how we were, and sent me 
a tent of the kind they call Khargdh. It consists of 
wooden laths put together like a dome and covered 
with pieces of felt; the upper part is opened to admit 
the light and air and can be closed when required. 
Next day the sultan sent for us and asked me about 
the countries I had visited, then after food had been 
served we retired. This went on for several days, the 
sultan inviting us daily to join him at his meal, and 
one afternoon visiting us himself, on account of the 
respeft which the Turks show for theologians. At 
length we both became weary of flaying on this 
mountain, so the professor sent a message to the 
sultan that I wished to continue my journey, and 
received a reply that we should accompany the sultan 
to his palace in the city on the following day. Next 
day he sent an excellent horse and descended with us 
to the city. On reaching the palace we climbed a 
long flight of flairs with him and came to a fine audience 
hall with a basin of water in the centre and a bronze 
lion at each corner of it spouting water from its mouth. 
Round the hall were daises covered with carpets, on 
one of which was the sultan’s cushion. When we 
reached this place, the sultan removed his cushion 
and sat down beside us on the carpets. The Koran- 
readers, who always attend the sultan’s audiences, 
sat below the dais. After syrup and biscuits had been 



served I spoke thanking the sultan warmly and praising 
the professor, which pleased the sultan a great deal. 

As we were sitting there, he said to me “ Have you 
ever seen a ^one that has fallen from the sky ?” I 
replied “No, nor ever heard of one.” “Well,” he 
said, “ a ftone fell from the sky outside this town,” 
and thereupon called for it to be brought. A great 
black ftone was brough.., very hard and with a glitter 
in it, I reckon its weight was about a hundredweight. 
The sultan sent for ftone breakers, and four of them 
came and ^ruck it all together four times over with 
iron hammers, but made no impression on it. I was 
amazed, and he ordered it to be taken back to its place. 
We ^tayed altogether fourteen days with this sultan. 
Every night he sent us food, fruit, sweetmeats and 
candles, and gave me in addition a hundred pieces of 
gold, a thousand dirhems, a complete set of garments 
and a Greek slave called Michael, as well as sending 
a robe and a gift of money to each of my companions. 
All this we owed to the professor Muhyi ad-Din — 
may God reward him with good ! 

We went on through the town of Tira, which is in 
the territories of this sultan, to Aya Suldq [Ephesus], 
a large and ancient town venerated by the Greeks. It 
possesses a large church built of finely hewn Clones 
each measuring ten or more cubits in length. The 
cathedral mosque, which was formerly a church greatly 
venerated by the Greeks, is one of the mo^t beautiful 
in the world. I bought a Greek slave girl here for 
forty dinars. Thence we went to Yazmfr [Smyrna], 
a large town on the coaS, mostly in ruins. The 
governor ‘Omar, a son of the sultan of Aydin, came 
to the convent to visit me and sent me a large hospi- 
tality-gift. Afterwards he gave me a young Greek 
slave named Nicolas. He was a generous and pious 
prince and conftantly engaged in war with the 
Christians. He had galleys, with which he used to 



make raids on the environs of Constantinople the 
Great, taking prisoners and booty and after spending 
it all in largesse he would make another raid. Eventu- 
ally the Greeks, under the pressure of his attacks, 
appealed to the Pope, who ordered the Christians of 
Genoa and France to make an attack on him. They 
did so, and the Pope sent an army from Rome, which 
captured the port and the city in a night attack. The 
amir ‘Omar went down from the citadel and fought 
them, but he died a martyr’s death together with a 
number of his troops. The Christians established 
themselves in the city, but could not capture the 
citadel on account of its Strength.'^ 

We travelled thence to Maghnisiya [Magnesia, 
now Manisa] where we prayed the Festival Prayer [of 
the Pilgrimage] in the company of Sultan Sariikhan. 
Here my slave, on taking my horses to water along 
with a slave belonging to one of my companions, 
attempted to escape. The sultan sent in pursuit of 
them, but as everyone was occupied with the festival, 
they were not found. They made for a town on the 
coaSt named Fdja belonging to the infidels, who 
send a gift to the sultan every year, in return for which 
he is content to leave them alone because of the 
Strength of their city. Next day at noon some Turks 
brought them back with the horses. The fugitives 
had passed them the evening before, and becoming 
suspicious, they had questioned them until they con- 
fessed their design of escaping. We went on next 
to Barghama which is in ruins but has a Strong 
fortress on the summit of a hill. Here we hired a 
guide and travelled among high and rugged moun- 
tains to the town of Balikasri. The sultan, whose 
name is Dumilr Khin, is a worthless person. It 
was his father who built this town, and during the 
son’s reign it attracted a vaSt population of knaves, 
for “ Like king, like people.” I visited him and he 



sent me a silk robe. In this town I bought a Greek 
slave girl called Marguerite. 

We journeyed next to Bursd [Brusa], a great city 
with fine bazaars and broad directs, surrounded by 
orchards and running springs. Outside it are two 
thermal eilablishments, one for men and the other 
for women, to which patients come from the mo^t 
di^ant parts. They lodge there for three days at 
a hospice which was built by one of the Turkmen 
kings. In this town I met the pious Shaykh ‘Abdullah 
the Egyptian, a traveller, who went all round the 
world, except that he never visited China, Ceylon, 
the We^I, or Spain or the Negrolands, so that in visit- 
ing those countries I have surpassed him. The sultan 
of Bursa is Orkhdn Bek, son of ‘Othman Chdk, He 
is the greatest of the Turkmen kings and the richest 
in wealth, lands, and military forces, and possesses 
nearly a hundred fortresses which he is continually 
visiting for inspeftion and putting to rights. He 
fights with the infidels and besieges them. It was 
his father who captured Bursa from the Greeks, and 
it is said that he besieged Yaznik [Nic®a] for about 
twenty years, but died before it was taken. His son 
Orkhdn besieged it twelve years before capturing it, 
and it was there that I saw him.“ Yaznik lies in 
a lake and can be reached only by one road like a 
bridge admitting only a single horseman at a time. 
It is in ruins and uninhabited except for a few men 
in the Sultan’s service. It is defended by four walls 
with a moat between each pair, and is entered over 
wooden drawbridges. Inside there are orchards and 
houses and fields, and drinking water is obtained from 
wells. I dlayed in this town forty days owing to the 
illness of one of my horses, but growing impatient 
at the delay I left it and went on with three of my 
companions and a slave girl and two slave boys. We 
had no one with us who could speak Turkish well 



enough to interpret for us, for the interpreter we had 
left us at Yaznik. After leaving this town we crossed 
a great river called Saqari [Sangarius] by a ferry. 
This consisted of four beams bound together with 
ropes, on which the passengers are placed, together 
with their saddles and baggage; it is pulled across by 
men on the further bank, and the horses swim behind. 
The same night we reached Kawiya [Gheiva] and 
lodged with one of the Brotherhood. As he neither 
underftood Arabic nor we Turkish, he sent for a 
theologian, who spoke to us in Persian, and not 
under^anding us when we spoke Arabic, excused 
himself to the brother saying hhan 'arabi kuhnd 
miguyand waman 'arabt naw midananiy which means 
“ These men speak ancient Arabic and I know only 
modern Arabic,” He said this only to shield himself 
from disgrace, for they thought he knew Arabic, when 
in reality he did not know it. But this turned out 
to be of service to us, for the brother, thinking that 
things were really as he had said, showed us the 
greatest consideration saying “ These men muft be 
honourably treated, since they speak the ancient 
Arabic tongue, which was the tongue of the Prophet 
and his Companions.” I did not underhand ju^l 
then what the theologian had said, but the sound of 
his words ftuck in my memory and when I learned 
the Persian language, I found out their meaning. 

We spent that night at the hospice, and the Brother 
sent a guide with us to Yanija [Tarakli], which is 
a fine large town. We Parted to look for the akhi’s 
hospice, and found one of those crazy darwfshes, so 
I said to him “ Is this the akhi’s hospice ?” He 
replied na^am [“ Yes ”], and I felt so pleased at having 
found someone who knew Arabic. But when I 
tefted him further the cat was out of the bag, for 
na*am was the only word of Arabic he knew. We 
put up at the hospice, and one of the ftudents brought 



food to us. The akhi himself was away, but we 
became very friendly with this ^udent. Though he 
knew no Arabic, he was very kind to us, and spoke 
to the governor of the town, who gave me one of his 
mounted men to take us to Kaymik [Kevnik] . Kayniik 
is a small town in the territiries of Sultan CDrkhdn Bek, 
inhabited by infidel [Chri^ian] Greeks under Muslim 
proteftion. There is only one household of Muslims 
in the place, and that belongs to the governors of the 
Greeks, so we put up at the house of an old infidel 
woman. This was in the season of snow and rain. 
She treated us well,^'* and we spent that night in her 
house. Now this town has no trees or vineyards; the 
only thing cultivated there is saffron, and the old 
woman brought us a great quantity of it, thinking 
that we were merchants and would buy it from her. 

When we mounted our horses in the morning, the 
horseman whom the member of the Brotherhood had 
sent with us from Kayniik came to us and provided 
us with another horseman to guide us to the town of 
Muturnf. The road was obliterated by a heavy fall 
of snow the previous night, so our guide went on 
ahead of us and we followed his tracks. About mid- 
day we came to a village of Turkmens, who brought 
us food, of which we ate. The horseman spoke to 
them and one of them went on with us. He led us 
over difficult and mountainous country, and a river 
channel which we crossed more than thirty times. 
When we got clear of this the guide asked us for 
some money, but we said “ When we reach the town 
we shall give you plenty.” He was not satisfied or 
else did not underhand, for he took a bow belonging 
to one of our party and went off a little way, then 
returned and gave the bow back. I then gave him 
a little money and he took it and decamped, leaving 
us with no idea which way to go and with no road 
visible to us. About sunset we came to a hill on 



which we could make out the track by a quantity of 
^ones on it. I was afraid that both I and my com- 
panions might perish, as I expefted more snow to 
fall and the place was uninhabited; if we dismounted 
we were doomed and if we went on we did not know 
the road. I had a good horse however, so I said to 
myself “ If I reach safety perhaps I may contrive to 
save my companions,” and commending them to God, 
I set off. At length in the late evening I came to 
some houses and said “ O God, grant they may be 
inhabited.” I found that they were inhabited, and 
God of his goodness led me to a religious house 
belonging to some darwishes. When they heard me 
speaking at the door, one of them came out; he was 
a man whom I knew, and I advised him to go out 
with the darwishes to deliver my companions. They 
did so and set out with me, and so we all reached the 
convent in safety, praise be to God Mo^ High for 
our safety ! Each darwish brought us what food he 
could and our distress was removed. 

We set out next morning and reached Muturni 
[Mudurlu], where we fell in with a pilgrim who knew 
Arabic. We besought him to travel with us to 
Qa^lamdniya, which is ten days’ journey from there; 
I gave him an Egyptian robe of mine and some money 
for current expenses, which he left with his family, 
and assigned him a mount, promising him a good 
reward. He turned out to be a wealthy man, but of 
base charafter. We used to give him money for our 
expenses, and he wovJd take the bread that was left 
over and buy spices, herbs and salt with it, and appro- 
priate the money for these. I was told too that he 
used to ileal part of the monej^ that we gave him for 
our expenses. We put up with him because of our 
difEculties in not knowing Turkish, but things went 
so far that we used to say to him in the evenings 
“ Well, Hajji, how much have you ilolen today ?” 



He would reply “ So much ” and we would laugh and 
make the be^t of it. We came next to the town of 
Bdli, where we flayed at a convent of the Young 
Brotherhood. What an excellent body of men these 
are, how nobleminded, how unselfish and full of 
compassion for the stranger, how kindly and affec- 
tionate they are to him, how warm their welcome to 
him ! A ilranger coming to them is made to feel 
as though he were meeting the dearest of his own 
folk. Next morning we travelled on to Garadf Bdli, 
a large and fine town situated on a plain, with spacious 
Greets and bazaars, but one of the coldest towns in 
the world. It is composed of several different quarters, 
each inhabited by different communities, none of 
which mixes with any of the others. The sultan, 
who is one of the less important rulers in this country, 
is a fine-looking and upright man, but not liberal. 
He came to visit us at the religious house and ^ayed 
for an hour, asking me about my travels, and after- 
wards sent me a saddled horse and a robe. 

We went on through a small town named Burld*® 
to Qa^lamdniya, a very large and fine town, in which 
goods are plentiful, and prices cheaper than I have 
ever seen elsewhere. We ^ayed in the convent of 
a very deaf shaykh and I saw an astonishing thing in 
conneftion with him. One of his Students used to 
write with his finger in the air or on the ground and 
he would understand and reply. Sometimes long 
Stories were told him in this way. We remained here 
about forty days. The sultan of QaStamiiniya is the 
illustrious Sulayman Pddshah, a man over seventy 
years of age with a fine face and long beard, a Stately 
and venerable figure. I visited him in his reception 
hall and he made me sit beside him and asked me 
about my travels. He then commanded me to be 
lodged near him, and gave me on the same day a fine 
white horse and a robe, besides assigning me money 



for my expenses and forage. Later on he gave me 
an assignation of wheat and barley from a village 
half a day’s journey from the town, but I could not 
find anyone to buy it because of the cheapness of 
provisions, so I gave it to the pilgrim who was in our 
company. It is a cuftom of this sultan’s to take his 
seat in the audience chamber every afternoon; food is 
served and the doors are opened and no one, whether 
townsman or nomad, Granger or traveller, is prevented 
from partaking. 

From Qaislamiiniya we travelled to Samib [Sinope], 
a populous town combining ^rength with beauty. It 
is surrounded by sea except on the ea^, where there 
is only one gate which no one is allowed to enter 
without permission from the governor, Ibrahim Bek, 
who is a son of Sulaymdn Padshah. Outside the town 
there are eleven villages inhabited by Greek infidels. 
The cathedral mosque at Samib is a mo^l beautiful 
building, conilrufted by Sultan Parwdnah. He was 
succeeded by his son Ghdzl Chelebi, at whose death 
the town was seized by Sultan Sulaymdn. Ghazf 
Chelebi was a brave and audacious man, with a 
peculiar capacity for swimming under water. He used 
to sail out with his war vessels to fight the Greeks, 
and when the fleets met and everyone was occupied 
with the fighting he would dive under the water 
carrying an iron tool with which he pierced the 
enemy’s ships, and they knew nothing about it until 
all at once they sank. 

We flayed at Samib about forty days waiting for 
the weather to became favourable for sailing to the 
town of Qiram.“ Then we hired a vessel belonging 
to the Greeks and waited another eleven days for a 
favourable wind. At length we set sail, but after 
travelling for three nights, we were beset in mid-sea 
by a terrible tempeil. The ^forrn raged with un- 
paralleled fury, then the wind changed and drove us 



back nearly to Sanilb. The weather cleared and we 
set out again, and after another temped like the 
former, we at length saw the hills on the land. We 
made for a harbour called Karsh [Kerch], intending 
to enter it, but some people on the hill made signs 
to us not to enter, and fearing that there were enemy 
vessels in the port, we turned back along the coa^. 
As we approached the land I said to the mailer of the 
ship “ I want to descend here,” so he put me ashore. 
The place was in the Qipchaq desert which is green 
and verdant, but flat and tredess. There is no fire- 
wood so they make fires of dung, and you will see 
even the higheil of them picking it up and putting 
it in the skirts of their garments. The only method 
of travelling in this desert is in waggons; it extends 
for six months’ journey, of which three are in the 
territories of Sultan Muhammad Ozbeg.^^ The day 
after our arrival one of the merchants in our company 
hired some waggons from the Qipchaqs who inhabit 
this desert, and who are Chriftians, and we came to 
Kafi, a large town extending along the sea-coaft, 
inhabited by Chriftians, moftly Genoese, whose 
governor is called Damdi'r [Demetrio].^® 

We ftayed at Kafa in the mosque of the Muslims. 
An hour after our arrival we heard bells ringing on 
all sides. As I had never heard bells before,^ I was 
alarmed and bade my companions ascend the minaret 
and read the Koran and issue the call to prayer. They 
did so, when suddenly a man entered wearing armour 
and weapons and greeted us. He told us that he was 
the qddl of the Muslims there, and said “ When I 
heard the reading and the call to prayer, I feared for 
your safety and came as you see.” Then he went 
away, but no evil befd us. The next day the governor 
came to us and entertained us to a meal, then we went 
round the city and found it provided with fine bazaars. 
All the inhabitants are infidels. We went down to 



the port and saw a magnificent harbour with about 
two hundred vessels in it, ships of war and trading 
vessels, small and large, for it is one of the mo^ notable 
harbours in the world. 

We hired a waggon and travelled to the town 
of Qiram, which forms part of the territories of 
Sultan Uzbeg Khdn and has a governor called Tuluk- 
tumiir. On hearing of our arrival the governor sent 
the imim to me with a horse; he himself was ill, but 
we visited him and he treated us honourably and gave 
us gifts. He was on the point of setting out for the 
town of Sari, the capital of the Khin, so I prepared 
to travel along with him and hired waggons for that 
purpose. These waggons have four large wheels and 
are drawn by two or more horses, or by oxen or camels, 
according to their weight. The driver rides on one 
of the horses and carries a whip or wooden goad. 
On the waggon is put a light tent made of wooden 
laths bound with ilrips of hide and covered with felt 
or blanket-cloth, and it has grilled windows so that 
the person inside can see without being seen. One 
can do anything one likes inside, sleep, eat, read or 
write, during the march. The waggons conveying 
the baggage and provisions are covered with a similar 
tent which is locked. 

We set out with the amir Tuluktumiir and his 
brother and two sons. At every halt the Turks loose 
their horses, oxen and camels, and drive them out to 
pasture at liberty,^ night or day, without shepherds or 
guardians. This is due to the severity of their laws 
against theft. Any person found in possession of a 
stolen horse is obliged to restore it with nine others; 
if he cannot do this, his sons are taken in^ead, and if 
he has no sons he is slaughtered like a sheep. They 
do not eat bread nor any solid food, but prepare a 
soup with a kind of millet, and any meat they may 
have is cut into small pieces and cooked in this soup. 



Everyone is given his share in a plate with curdled 
milk, and they drink it, afterwards drinking curdled 
mare’s milk, which they call qumizz. They have also 
a fermented drink prepared from the same grain, 
which they call buza [beer] and regard as lawful to 
drink. It is white in colour; I tailed it once and found 
it bitter, so I left it alone. They regard the eating 
of sweetmeats as a disgrace. One day during 
Ramadin I presented Sultan Uzbeg with a plate of 
sweetmeats which one pf my companions had made, 
but he did no more than touch them with his finger 
and then place it in his mouth. 

Eighteen ilations after leaving Qiram we came to 
a great expanse of water which took us a whole day 
to ford.“ The crossing becomes very muddy and 
difficult when many beails and waggons have crossed, 
so the amfr, thinking of my comfort, sent me on ahead 
with one of his suite and wrote a letter for me to the 
governor of Azaq urging him to treat me honourably. 
We crossed a second sheet of water, which required 
half a day to ford, and on the third day from there, 
reached Azaq [Azov], which is on the sea coa^. It 
is a wellbuilt town, visited by the Genoese and other 
merchants. The governor, on receiving the amfr 
Tuluktumiir’s letter, came out to meet me, along with 
the qddf and the students, and sent out food. After 
greeting him, we dismounted and ate, then went on 
to the town, outside which we camped. Two days 
later the amfr arrived, and was met with great cere- 
mony. A banquet was prepared for him in a specially 
prepared tent of coloured silk, and when he dismounted 
pieces of silk were laid down for him to walk on. 
Out of his generosity he made me precede him, in 
order that the governor should see the high eileem 
in which he held me, and made me sit on a great 
chair which had been placed for him, himself sitting 
beside me, while his two sons and his brother and 



nephews remained islanding respedlfully. After the 
banquet was over a robe was presented to the amir 
and to each member of his family and to me, then the 
amfr and his brother were presented with ten horses, 
his two sons with six, and I too with one. 

The horses in this country are very numerous and 
the price of them is negligible. A good one co^ls 
about a dinar of our money. The livelihood of the 
people depends on them, and they are as numerous 
as sheep in our country, or even more so. A single 
Turk will possess thousands of horses. They are ex- 
ported to India in droves of six thousand or so, each 
merchant possessing one or two hundred of them or less 
or more. For each fifty they hire a keeper, who looks 
after their pasturage. He rides on one of them, carry- 
ing a long ^ick with a rope attached to it, and when 
he wishes to catch any horse he gets opposite it on the 
horse which he is riding, throws the rope over its 
neck and draws it towards him, mounts it and sets 
the other free to pasture. On reaching Sind the 
horses are fed with forage, because the vegetation of 
Sind will not take the place of barley, and the greater 
part of them die or are stolen. The owners pay a 
duty of seven silver dinars on entering Sind and a 
further duty at Multan. Formerly they were taxed 
a quarter of the value of their imports, but Sultan 
Muhammad abolished this tax and ordered that 
Muslim merchants should pay the legal tithe®*^ and 
infidel merchants a tenth. Nevertheless the mer- 
chants make a handsome profit, for the lea^ that a 
horse fetches is a hundred dinars (that is twenty-five 
dinars in Moroccan money) and it often sells for twice 
or three times that amount. A good horse sells for 
five hundred or more. The Indians do not buy them 
as racehorses, for in battle they wear coats of mail 
and cover their horses with armour; what they prize 
in a horse is its strength and length of pace. Their 

145 ^ 


racehorses are brought from Yemen, ‘Omin and Fdrs, 
and they coft from a thousand to four thousand dinars 

From Azaq I went on to Mdjar, travelling behind 
the amir Tuluktumiir. It is one of the fine^ of the 
Turkish cities, and is situated on a great river.““ In 
the bazaar of this city I met a Jew, who greeted me 
in Arabic and told me that he had come from Spain. 
He said that he had come overland, through Con- 
ilantinople the Great, Anatolia and the land of the 
Circassians [Transcaucasia], and that the journey had 
taken four months. The travelling merchants, who 
know about these matters, assured me of the truth of 
his ftatement. 

A remarkable thing which I saw in this country 
was the respeft shown to women by the Turks, for 
they hold a more dignified position than the men. 
The fir^ time that I saw a princess was when, on 
leaving Qiram, I saw the wife of the amir in her 
waggon. The entire waggon was covered with rich 
blue woollen cloth, and the windows and doors of the 
tent were open. With the princess were four maidens, 
exquisitely beautiful and richly dressed, and behind 
her were a number of waggons with maidens belonging 
to her suite. When she came near the amir’s camp 
she alighted with about thirty of the maidens who 
carried her train. On her garments there were loops, 
of which each maiden took one, and lifted her train 
clear of the ground on all sides, and she walked in 
this lately manner. When she reached the amir he 
rose before her and greeted her and sat her beside 
him, with the maidens standing round her. Skins of 
gumizz were brought and she, pouring some into a 
cup, knelt before him and gave it to him, afterwards 
pouring out a cup for his brother. Then the amir 
poured out a cup for her and food was brought in and 
she ate with him. He then gave her a robe and she 



withdrew. I saw also the wives of the merchants and 
commonalty. One of them will sit in a waggon which 
is being drawn by horses, attended by three or four 
maidens to carry her train, and on her head she wears 
a conical headdress incrulled with pearls and sur- 
mounted by peacock feathers. The windows of the 
tent are open and her face is visible, for the Turkish 
women do not veil themselves. Sometimes a woman 
will be accompanied by her husband and anyone 
seeing him would take him for one of her servants; 
he has no garment other than a sheep’s wool cloak 
and a high cap to match. 

We then prepared for the journey to the sultan’s 
camp, which was four days’ march from Majar in a 
place called Bi'shdagh, which means “ Five moun- 
tains.”^ In these mountains there is a hot spring 
in "which the Turks bathe, claiming that it prevents 
illness. We arrived at the camp on the fir£l day of 
Ramadan and found that it was moving to the neigh- 
bourhood from which we had ju^l come, so we returned 
thither. I set up my tent on a hill there, fixing a 
standard in the ground in front of it, and drew up the 
horses and waggons behind. Thereupon the mahalla 
approached (the name they give to it is the ordu) 
and we saw a va^t town on the move with all its 
inhabitants, containing mosques and bazaars, the 
smoke from the kitchens rising in the air (for they 
cook while on the march), and horse-drawn waggons 
transporting them. On reaching the encampment 
they took the tents off the waggons and set them upon 
the ground, for they were very light, and they did 
the same with the mosques and shops. The sultan ’'s 
khiti^ns passed by us, each separately with her own 
retinue. The fourth of them, as she passed, saw the 
tent on top of the hill with the ftandard in front of 
it, which is the mark of a new arrival, and sent pages 
and maidens to greet me and convey her salutations, 



herself halting to wait for them. I sent her a gift 
by one of my companions and the chamberlain of the 
ami'r Tuluktumiir. She accepted it as a blessing and 
gave orders that I should be taken under her pro- 
teftion, then went on. Afterwards the sultan arrived 
and camped with his mahalla separately. 

The illustrious Sultan Muhammad Uzbeg Khan 
is the ruler of a vaSl kingdom and a moSl powerful 
sovereign, viftor over the enemies of God, the people 
of Constantinople the Great, and diligent in warring 
againSt them. He is one of the seven mighty kings 
of the world, to wit: our maSler the Commander of 
the Faithful, may God Strengthen his might and 
magnify his viftory ! [the sultan of Morocco], the 
sultan of Egypt and Syria, the sultan of the Two 
Traqs, this Sultan Czbeg, the sultan of TurkiStan 
and the lands beyond the Oxus, the sultan of India, 
and the sultan of China. The day after my arrival I 
visited him in the afternoon at a ceremonial audience; 
a great banquet was prepared and we broke our faSi in 
his presence. These Turks do not follow the cuSlom of 
assigning a lodging to visitors and giving them money 
for their expenses, but they send him sheep and horses 
for slaughtering and skins of qumizzy which is their 
form of benefadlion. Every Friday, after the midday 
prayer, the sultan holds an audience in a pavilion 
called the Golden Pavilion, which is richly decorated. 
In the centre there is s wooden throne covered with 
silver-gilt plates, the legs being of pure silver set 
with jewels at the top. The sultan sits on the throne, 
having on his right the khdtiin Taytughlf with the 
khitiin Kebek on her right, and on his left the khdtdn 
Bayaldn with the khitiin Urduji on her left. Below 
the throne iland the sultan’s sons, the elder on the 
right and the younger on the left, and his daughter 
sits in front of him. He rises to meet each khitdn 
as she arrives and takes her by the hand until she 



mounts to the throne. All this takes place in view 
of the whole people, without any screening. 

On the morrow of my interview with the sultan I 
visited the principal khdtiin Taytughli, who is the 
queen and the mother of the sultan’s two sons. She 
was sitting in the mid^ of ten aged women, who 
appeared to be servants of hers, and had in front of 
her about fifty young maidens with gold and silver 
salvers filled with cherries which they were cleaning, 
The khatdn also had a golden tray filled with cherries 
in front of her and was cleaning them. She ordered 
gumizz to be brought and with her own hand poured 
out a cupful and gave it to me, which is the highedl 
of honours in their estimation. 1 had never drunk 
qumizz before, but there was nothing for me but to 
accept it. I taSted it, but found it disagreeable and 
passed it on to one of my companions. The following 
day we visited the second khitiin Kebek and found 
her sitting on a divan reading the holy Koran. She 
also served me with qumizz. The third khatiin 
Bayaldn is the daughter of the Emperor of Con- 
stantinople the Great.®^ On visiting her we found 
her sitting on a throne set with jewels, with about 
a hundred maidens, Greek, Turkish and Nubian, 
Standing or sitting in front of her. Behind her were 
eunuchs and in front of her Greek chamberlains. 
She asked how we were and about our journey and 
the distance of our native lands, and wept, in pity and 
compassion, wiping her face with a handkerchief that 
lay before her. She ordered food to be served and we 
ate in her presence, and when we desired to leave she 
said “ Do not sever relations with us, but come often 
to us and inform us of your needs.” She showed 
great kindness to us and after we had gone sent us 
food, a great quantity of bread, butter, sheep, money, 
a magnificent robe and thirteen horses, three good 
ones and ten of the ordinary sort. It was with this 



khdtiin that I made my journey to Constantinople 
the Great, as we shall relate hereafter. The fourth 
khdtdn is one of the beSt, moSl amiable and sympa- 
thetic of princesses. We visited her and she showed 
us a kindness and generosity that cannot be surpassed. 
By the sultan’s daughter however we were treated 
with a generosity and kindness that no other khatiln 
showed us; she loaded us with surpassing favours, 
may God reward her ! 

I had heard of the city of Bulghdr® and desired to 
visit it, in order to see for myself what they tell of the 
extreme shortness of the night there and also the 
shortness of the day in the opposite season. It was 
ten nights’ journey from the sultan’s camp, so I 
requeued that he would give me a guide to take me 
to it, and he did so. We reached it in the month 
of Ramaddn, and when we had breakfasted after the 
sunset prayer we had juSl sufficient time for the night 
prayers before dawn. I Stayed there three days. I 
had intended to visit the Land of Darkness,^® which 
is reached from Bulghir after a journey of forty days, 
but I renounced the projeft in view of the difficulty 
of the journey and the small profit to be got out of it. 
The only way of reaching it is to travel on sledges 
drawn by dogs, for the desert being covered with ice, 
neither man nor beaSl can walk on it without slipping, 
whereas the dogs have claws that grip the ice. The 
journey is made only by rich merchants who have 
a hundred sledges or thereabouts, loaded with food, 
drink, and firewood, for there are neither trees, Slones 
nor habitation in it. The guide in this country is the 
dog which has made the journey many times, and the 
value of one of these reaches a thousand dinars. The 
sledge is tied to its neck and three other dogs are 
yoked with it; it is the leader, the other dogs following 
it with the sledges, and where it Slops they Slop. 
Its owner never beats or chides it, and when food is 



made the dogs are served firil before the men; other- 
wise the [leading] dog is angered and escapes, leaving 
its owner to perish. When the travellers have com- 
pleted forty ^ages they alight at the Darkness. Each 
one of them leaves the goods he has brought there 
and they return to their usual camping-ground. Next 
day they go back to seek their goods, and find opposite 
them skins of sable, minever, and ermine. If the 
merchant is satisfied with the exchange he takes them, 
but if not he leaves them. The inhabitants then add 
more skins, but sometimes they take away their goods 
and leave the merchant’s. This is their method of 
commerce. Those who go there do not know whom 
they are trading with or whether they be jinn or men, 
for they never see anyone. 

I returned from Bulghar with the amir whom the 
sultan had sent to accompany me, and found the 
mahalla at Bishdagh on the 28th of Ramadin. When 
the ceremonies of the Fe^ival [at the close of the month 
of fasting] were over we set out with the sultan and 
the mahalla and came to the town of Hijj Tarkhan 
[Astrakhan]. It is one of the fineft of cities, with 
great bazaars, and is built on the river Itil [Volga], 
which is one of the great rivers of the world. In the 
winter it freezes over and the people travel on it in 
sledges; sometimes caravans cross it towards the end 
of winter and are drowned. On reaching this town 
the khatdn Bayaldn requested the sultan to permit 
her to visit her father, the king of the Greeks, that she 
might give birth to her child at her home and return 
again to him. He gave her permission and then I too 
asked him to allow me to go in her company to see 
Constantinople the Great. He demurred, fearing for 
my safety, but I said, “ I shall go under your patronage 
and proteftion and I shall have nothing to fear from 
anyone.” Thereupon he gave me permission and we 
bade him farewell. He presented me with i ,500 dinars, 


a robe, and a large number of horses, and each khatiin 
gave me ingots of silver. The sultan’s daughter gave 
me more than they did, along with a robe and a horse, 
so I found myself in possession of a considerable 
quantity of horses, garments, and furs of sable and 

We set out on the tenth of Shawwal in the company 
of the khatiin Bayaliin and under her proteftion. The 
sultan escorted her one ftage, then returned, he and 
the queen and the heir to the throne; the other khatiins 
accompanied her for a second ^age and then returned. 
The amfr Baydara with five thousand troops travelled 
with her, and her own troops numbered about five 
hundred horsemen, two hundred of whom were her 
attendant slaves and Greeks, and the remainder Turks. 
She had with her also about two hundred maidens, 
moit of whom were Greeks, and about four hundred 
carts and about two thousand draught and riding 
horses, as well as three hundred oxen and two hundred 
camels. She had also ten Greek youths and the same 
number of Indians, whose leader-in-chief was called 
Sunbul the Indian; the leader of the Greeks was a 
man of conspicuous bravery called Michael, but the 
Turks gave him the name of Lu’lu’ [Pearl]. She left 
mo^ of her maidens and her baggage at the sultan’s 
camp, since she had set out only to pay a visit. We 
made for Ukak,®^ a medium-sized town, with fine 
buildings, plentifully supplied with natural produfts, 
and extremely cold. A day’s march from this town 
are the mountains of the Russians. These are Chris- 
tians, red-haired and blue-eyed, with ugly faces and 
treacherous. In their country are silver mines and 
thence are brought the ingots of silver with which 
selling and buying is done in this land. The weight 
of each of these ingots is five ounces. 

After ten nights’ travelling from this town we 
arrived at the town of Surdaq, which is on the sea 



coa^ of the Qipchaq desert, and possesses one of the 
biggeft and finest of harbours.^ Outside it there are 
orchards and springs, and it is inhabited by Turks 
and a number of Greeks under their dominion. These 
Greeks are artisans and moil of their houses are made 
of wood. This town was formerly a big one, but 
moil of it was laid in ruins as the result of a quarrel 
which broke out between the Greeks and the Turks. 
At firil the Greeks had the upper hand, but the Turks 
on receiving assiilance from their fellow-countrymen 
killed the Greeks remorselessly and expelled moil of 
them. Some of them ilill remain there as subjedls 
of the Turks. At every halting place in this land 
the khdtiin received hospitality-gifts of horses, sheep, 
cattle, millet, qumizz, and the milk of cows and sheep. 
In these countries travelling is done in the forenoon 
and in the evening. Every governor escorted the 
khdtiin with his troops right to the frontier of his 
territories, to show her honour, not through fear for 
her safety, for these lands are quite safe. We came 
next to the town known by the name of Babd Saltriq,“ 
who, they say, was an ecilatic myilic, though ilories 
are told of adlions by him which are condemned by 
the law. This is the la^ town in Turkish territory. 
From here to the beginning of Greek territory it 
is a journey of eighteen days through uninhabited 
desert, for eight days of which there is no water, so 
a ^lock of water is laid in and carried in large and small 
skins on the waggons. As it was in the cold weather 
that we passed through we did not need much water, 
and everything went well with us, praise be to God ! 

At the end of this march we reached the fortress of 
Mahtdli, at the frontier of the territories of the Greeks.®® 
The Greeks had heard that this khitdn was returning 
to her country, and there came to this fortress to meet 
her the Greek Kifill®^ Nicolas, with a large army and 
a large hospitality-gift, accompanied by the princesses 



and nurses from the palace of her father, the king 
of Con^antincmle. From Mahtdli to Constantinople 
is a journey or twenty-two days, sixteen to the canal, 
and six thence to Constantinople. From this fortress 
one travels on horses and mules only, and the waggons 
are left behind there on account of the rough ground 
and the mountains. KifSli had brought many mules, 
six of which the khatiin sent to me. She also com- 
mended to the care of the governor of the fortress 
those of my companions and of my slaves whom I 
had left behind with the waggons and baggage, and 
he assigned them a house. The commander Baydara 
returned with his troops, and none travelled on with 
the khatiin but her own people. She left her mosque 
behind at the fort and the praftice of calling to prayer 
was abolished. As part of her hospitality-gifts she 
was given intoxicating liquors, which she drank, and 
swine, and I was told by one of her suite that she ate 
them. No one remained with her who prayed except 
one Turk, who used to pray with us. Sentiments 
formerly hidden were revealed because of our entry 
into the land of the infidels, but the khdtiin charged 
the amir Kifali to treat us honourably, and on one 
occasion he beat one of his guards because he had 
laughed at our prayer. 

Thereafter we reached the fortress of Maslama ibn 
‘Abd al-Malik, which is at the foot of a mountain 
beside a swift-running river called IftafQi. Nothing 
is left of this fortress except its ruins, but outside it 
is a large village. Thence we journeyed for two days 
and reached the canal, on the bank of which there is 
a large village. We found a rising tide on the canal 
and waited till the ebb set in before fording it, its 
breadth being about two miles. We then went four 
miles through sand and reached the second canal, and 
forded it, its breadth being about three miles. Then 
we went about two miles through Clones and sand 



and reached the third canal when the tide had begun 
to rise, so we had some trouble to ford it, its breadth 
being one mile. The breadth of the entire canal 
therefore, counting both water channels and dry 
^Iretches, is twelve miles. In the rainy season it is 
filled entirely with water and cannot be forded except 
in boats. On the bank of this third canal is the town 
of Fanlka, small but beautiful and ftrongly fortified. 
Its churches and houses are beautiful; it is traversed 
by streams and surrounded by orchards, and in it 
grapes, pears, apples and quinces are preserved from 
one year to the next. We flayed in this town three 
nights, the khatiin being lodged in one of her father’s 
callles there. 

Then her brother, whose name was Kifali Qards, 
arrived with five thousand horsemen, fully accoutred 
in armour. When they prepared to meet the princess, 
her brother, dressed in white, rode a grey horse, 
having over his head a parasol ornamented with jewels. 
On his right hand he had five princes and the same 
number on his left hand, all dressed in white also, and 
with parasols embroidered in gold over their heads. 
In front of him were a hundred foot soldiers and a 
hundred horsemen, who wore long coats of mail over 
themselves and their horses, each one of them leading 
a saddled and armoured horse carrying the arms of 
a horseman, consisting of a jewelled helmet, a breaSt- 
plate, a bow, and a sword, and each man had in his 
hand a lance with a pennant at its head. MoSl of 
these lances were covered with plaques of gold and 
silver. These led horses are the riding horses of 
the sultan’s son. His horsemen were divided into 
squadrons, two hundred horsemen in each squadron. 
Over them was a commander, who had in front of 
him ten of the horsemen, fully accoutred in armour, 
each leading a horse, and behind him ten coloured 
Standards, carried by ten of the horsemen, and ten 



kettledrums slung over the shoulders of ten of the 
horsemen, with whom were six others sounding 
trumpets and bugles and fifes. The khatdn rode 
out with her guards, maidens, slave boys and servants, 
these numbering about five hundred, all wearing 
silken garments, embroidered with gold and encru^led 
with precious atones. She herself was wearing a 
garment of gold brocade, encrufted with jewels, with 
a crown set with precious Clones on her head, and her 
horse was covered with a saddle-cloth of silk em- 
broidered in gold. On its legs were bracelets of gold 
and round its neck necklaces set with precious atones, 
and her saddle frame was covered with gold orna- 
mented with jewels. Their meeting took place in a 
flat piece of ground about a mile di^ant from the 
town. Her brother dismounted to her, because he 
was younger than her, and kissed her ilirrup and she 
kissed his head. The commanders and princes also 
dismounted and they all kissed her ^irrup, after 
which she set out with her brother. 

On the next day we reached a large city on the sea- 
coa^l, whose name I have forgotten, well furnished 
with streams and trees, and encamped in its outskirts. 
The heir to the throne, the brother of the khdtdn, 
arrived with a great array and a strong army of ten 
thousand mailed horsemen. He wore a crown on his 
head, and had at his right hand about twenty princes 
and a similar number on his left. His horsemen 
were arranged exadtly as his brother’s, but with greater 
pomp and larger numbers. His si^er met him in 
a dress similar to the one she wore on the former 
occasion, and both dismounted together. A silken 
tent was brought and they both went into it, so I do 
not kriow how they greeted each other. We encamped 
at a distance of ten miles from Constantinople, and on 
the following day the population, men, women and 
children, came out riding or on foot, in their richeSt 



apparel. At dawn the drums, trumpets and fifes 
were sounded; the troops mounted, and the Emperor 
with his wife, the mother of this khitiin, came out, 
accompanied by the high officials of ftate and the 
courtiers. Over the king’s head there was a canopy, 
carried by a number of horsemen and men on foot, 
who had in their hands long Slaves, each surmounted 
by something resembling a ball of leather, with which 
they hoisted the canopy. In the centre of this canopy 
was a sort of pavilion which was supported by horse- 
men on Slaves. When the Emperor approached, the 
troops became entangled with one another and there 
was much duft. I was unable to make my way 
among^ them, so I kept with the khitiin’s baggage 
and party, fearing for my life. I was told that when 
the princess approached her parents she dismounted 
and kissed the ground before them, and then kissed 
the two hoofs or their horses, the principal members 
of her party doing the same. 

Our entry into Conftantinople the Great was made 
about noon or a little later, and they rang their bells 
until the very skies shook with the mingling of their 
sounds. When we reached the firft gate of the king’s 
palace we found there about a hundred men, with an 
officer on a platform, and I heard them saying Sarakinu^ 
Sarakinu^ which means Muslims. They would not 
let us enter, and when those who were with the khdtfin 
said that we belonged to their party, they answered 
“ They cannot enter except by permission,” so we 
Stayed at the gate. One of the khitAn’s party sent 
a messenger to tell her of this while she was Still with 
her father. She told him about us and he gave orders 
that we should enter, and assigned us a house near 
the khAt\in’s house. He wrote also on our behalf 
an order that we should not be obStruited wheresoever 
we went in the city, and this order was proclaimed 
in the bazaars. We Stayed indoors three days, re- 



ceiving from the khdtUn gifts of flour, bread, sheep, 
chickens, butter, fruit, fish, money and beds, and on 
the fourth day we had audience of the sultan. 

The Emperor of Conifantinople is called Takfiir, 
son of the Emperor Jirjfs [George].®^ His father, 
the Emperor George, was ftill alive, but had become 
an ascetic and monk, devoting himself to religious 
exercises in the churches, and had resigned the sove- 
reignty to his son. We shall speak of him later. On 
the fourth day after our arrival in Constantinople, the 
khati^n sent the slave Sunbul the Indian to me, and 
he took my hand and led me into the palace. We 
passed through four gateways, each of which had 
archways in which were fbotsoldiers with their 
weapons, their officer being on a carpeted platform. 
When we reached the fifth gateway the slave Sunbul 
left me, and going inside returned with four Greek 
youths, who searched me to see that I had no knife 
on my person. The officer said to me: “ This is a 
cuftom of theirs ; every person who enters the king’s 
presence, be he noble or private citizen, foreigner 
or native, muSl be searched.” The same praftice is 
observed also in India. After they had searched me 
the man in charge of the gate rose and took me by 
the hand and opened the gate. Four of the men sur- 
rounded me, two of them holding my sleeves and two 
behind me, and brought me into a large hall, the walls 
of which were of mosaic work, in which there were 
piftures of creatures, both animate and inanimate. 
In the centre there was a stream of water, with trees 
on either side of it, and men were landing to right 
and left, silent, not one of them speaking. In the 
midft of the hall three men were landing, to whom 
those four men delivered me. These took hold of 
my garments as the others had done, and on a signal 
from another man led me forward.®® One of them 
was a Jew, and he said to me in Arabic “ Do not be 



afraid; this is their custom that they use with one who 
enters. I am the interpreter, and I come from Syria.” 
So I asked him how I should salute the Emperor and he 
told me to say yls-saidm alaykum. After this I reached 
a great pavilion, where the Emperor was seated on 
his throne, with his wife, the mother of the khdtdn, 
before him. At the foot of the throne were the khatiin 
and her brothers, to the right of it six men and to the 
left of it four, and behind it four, every one of them 
armed. The Emperor signed to me, before I had 
saluted and reached him, to sit do%vn for a moment, 
in order that my apprehension might be calmed. 
After doing so I approached him and saluted him, and 
he signed to me to sit down, but I did not do so. He 
que^ioned me about Jerusalem, the Sacred Rock, the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the cradle of Jesus, 
and Bethlehem, and about the city of Abraham 
[Hebron], then about Damascus, Cairo, ‘Iraq, and 
Anatolia, and I answered all his que^ions about these, 
the Jew interpreting between us. He was pleased 
with my replies and said to his sons “ Treat this man 
with honour and ensure his safety.” Then he bellowed 
upon me a robe of honour and assigned me a horse 
with saddle and bridle, and an umbrella of the kind 
which the king has carried above his head, that being 
a sign of protedlion. I requeued him to designate 
someone to ride in the city with me every day, that I 
might see its marvellous and rare sights and tell of 
them in my own country, and he appointed a man as I 
had asked. They have a cuftom that anyone who wears 
the king’s robe of honour and rides his horse is paraded 
round with trumpets, ffes and drums, so that the 
people may see him. They do this moitiy with the 
Turks who come from the territories of Sultan Uabeg, 
so that the people may not molest them, and I was 
paraded in this fashion through the bazaars. 

The city is enormous in size, and in two parts 



separated by a great river [the Golden Horn], in 
which there is a rising and ebbing tide. In former 
times there was a ^tone bridge over it, but it fell into 
ruins and the crossing is now made in boats. The 
part of the city on the ea^ern bank of the river is 
called lilambiil, and contains the residence of the 
Emperor, the nobles and the reil of the population. 
Its bazaars and ilreets are spacious and paved with 
flagstones; each bazaar has gates which are closed 
upon it at night, and the majority of the artisans and 
sellers in them are women. The city lies at the foot 
of a hill which projefts about nine miles into the sea, 
its breadth being the same or greater. On the top 
of the hill there is a small citadel and the Emperor’s 
palace. Round this hill runs the city-wall, which is 
very Strong and cannot be taken by assault from the 
sea front. Within its circuit there are about thirteen 
inhabited villages. The principal church is in the 
midst of this part of the city. The second part, on 
the western bank of the river, is called Galata, and is 
reserved to the Frankish Christians who dwell there. 
They are of different kinds, including Genoese, 
Venetians, Romans and people of France; they are 
subject to the authority of the king of Constantinople, 
who sets over them one of their own number of whom 
they approve, and him they call the Comes. They 
are bound to pay a tax every year to the king of Con- 
stantinople, but often they revolt againSt him and he 
makes war on them until the Pope makes peace 
between them. They are all men of commerce and 
their harbour is one of the largeSt in the world; I saw 
there about a hundred galleys and other large ships, 
and the small ships were too many to be counted. 
The bazaars in this part of the town are good but 
filthy, and a small and very dirty river runs through 
them. Their churches too are filthy and mean. 

Of the great church I can only describe the exterior, 



for I did not see its interior. It is called by them 
Ayi Siifiya [St. Sophia], and the ^lory goes that it 
was built by Asaph, the son of Berechiah, who was 
Solomon’s cousin. It is one of the greatest churches 
of the Greeks, and is encircled by a wall so that it 
looks as if it were a town. It has thirteen gates and 
a sacred enclosure, which is about a mile long and 
closed by a great gate. No one is prevented from 
entering this enclosure, and indeed I went into it 
with the king’s father; it resembles an audience-hall 
paved with marble, and is traversed by a stream which 
issues from the church. Outside the gate of this 
hall are platforms and shops, moilly of wood, where 
their judges and the recorders of their bureaux sit. 
At the gate of the church there are porticoes where 
the keepers sit who sweep its paths, light its lamps 
and close its gates. They allow none to enter it until 
he prostrates himself to the huge cross there, which 
they claim to be a relic of the wood upon which the 
pseudo-Jesus was crucified.®^ This is over the gate 
of the church, set in a golden case whose height is 
about ten cubits, across which a similar golden case 
is placed to form a cross. This gate is covered with 
plaques of silver and gold and its two rings are of 
pure gold. I was told that the number of monks and 
prieits in this church runs into thousands, and that 
some of them are descendants of the apostles, and 
that inside it is another church exclusively for women, 
containing more than a thousand virgins and a Still 
greater number of aged women who devote them- 
selves to religious prailices. It is the cuStom of the 
king, the nobles and the reSl of the people to come 
every morning to visit this church. The Pope comes 
to visit it once a year. When he is four days’ journey 
from the town the king goes out to meet him, and 
dismounts before him and when he enters the city 
walks on foot in front of him. During his Slay in 

i6i M 


Conftantinople the king comes to salute him every 
morning and evening. 

A monailery is the Chri^ian equivalent of a religious 
house or convent among the Muslims, and there are 
a great many such monasteries at Constantinople. 
Among them is the monastery which King George 
built outside IStambiil and opposite Galata, and two 
monasteries outside the principal church, to the right 
as one enters it. These two monasteries are inside 
a garden traversed by a Stream of water; one of them 
is for men and the other for women. In each there 
is a church and they are surrounded by the cells of 
men and women who have devoted themselves to 
religious exercises. Each monastery possesses pious 
endowments for the clothing and maintenance of the 
devotees. Inside every monastery there is a small 
convent designed for the ascetic retreat of the king 
who built it, for moSt of these kings, on reaching the 
age of sixty or seventy, build a monastery and put 
on garments of hair, investing their sons with the 
sovereignty and occupying themselves with religious 
exercises for the reSt of their lives. They display 
great magnificence in building these monasteries, and 
construct them of marble and mosaic-work. I entered 
a monastery with the Greek whom the king had given 
me as a guide. Inside it was a church containing 
about five hundred virgins wearing hair-garments; 
their heads were shaved and covered with felt bonnets. 
They were exceedingly beautiful and showed the traces 
of their auSterities. A youth sitting on a pulpit was 
reading the gospel to them in the moSt beautiful 
voice I have ever heard; round him were eight other 
youths on pulpits with their prieSl, and when the firSf 
youth had finished reading another began. The 
Greek said to me “ These girls are kings’ daughters 
who have given themselves to the service of this church, 
and likewise the boys who are reading [are kings’ 


sons].” I entered with him also into churches in 
which there were the daughters of minivers, governors, 
and the principal men of the city, and others where there 
were aged women and widows, and others where there 
were monks, each church containing a hundred men 
or so. Moft of the population of the city are monks, 
ascetics, and priefts, and its churches are not to be 
counted for multitude.®® The inhabitants of the city, 
soldiers and civilians, small and great, carry over their 
heads huge parasols, both in winter and summer, and 
the women wear large turbans. 

I was out one day with my Greek guide, when we 
met the former king George who had become a monk. 
He was walking on foot, wearing haircloth garments 
and a bonnet of felt, and he had a long white beard 
and a fine face, which bore traces of his au^erities. 
Behind and before him was a body of monks, and he 
had a ftaff in his hand and a rosary on his neck. When 
the Greek saw him he dismounted and said to me 
“ Dismount, for this is the king’s father.” When my 
guide saluted him the king asked him about me, then 
flopped and sent for me. He took my hand and said 
to the Greek (who knew the Arabic tongue) “ Say 
to this Saracen (meaning Muslim) ‘ I clasp the hand 
which has entered Jerusalem and the foot which has 
walked within the Dome of the Rock and the great 
church of the Holy Sepulchre and Bethlehem,’ ” and 
he laid his hand upon my feet and passed it over his 
face. I was astonished at their good opinion of one 
who, though not of their religion, had entered these 
places. Then he took my hand and as I walked 
with him asked me about Jerusalem and the Christians 
who were there, and questioned me at length. I 
entered with him the sacred enclosure of the church 
which we have described above. When he approached 
the principal gate, a party of prieSts and monks came 
out to salute him, for he is one of their chief men in 



mona^licisnij and on seeing them he let go my hand. 
I said to him “ I should like to enter the church with 
you.” Then he said to the interpreter, “ Say to him 
‘ He who enters it mu^l needs proftrate himself before 
the great cross, for this is a rule which the ancients 
laid down and which cannot be contravened.’ ” So I 
left him and he entered alone and I did not see him 
again. After leaving the king I entered the bazaar 
of the scribes, where I was noticed by the judge, who 
sent one of his assistants to ask the Greek about me. 
On learning that I was a Muslim scholar he sent for 
me and I went up to him. He was an old man with 
a fine face and hair, wearing the black garments of 
a monk, and had about ten scribes in front of hirn 
writing. He rose to meet me, his companions rising 
also, and said “ You are the king’s gueSt and we are 
bound to honour you.” He then asked me about 
Jerusalem, Syria, and Egypt, and spoke with me for 
a long time. A great crowd gathered round him, 
and he said “ You muSl come to my house that I may 
entertain you.” After that I went away, but I did not 
see him again. 

When it became clear to the Turks who were in 
the khitdn’s company that she professed her father’s 
religion and wished to ^ay with him, they asked her 
for leave to return to their country. She made them 
rich presents and sent them an ami'r called Sardja 
with five hundred horsemen to escort them to their 
country. She sent for me, and gave me three hundred 
of their gold dinars, called barbara, which are not 
good money,®® and a thousand Venetian silver pieces, 
together with some robes and pieces of cloth and two 
horses, which were a gift from her father, and com- 
mended me to Sanija. I bade her farewell and left, 
having spent a month and six days in their town. On 
reaching the frontier, where we had left our party 
and waggons we picked them up and returned through 


the desert. Sariija came with us to Baba Saltiiq, 
where he flayed as a guefl for three days, and then 
went back to his land. This was in the depths of 
winter and I used to wear three fur coats and two 
pairs of trousers, one lined, and on my feet I had 
woollen boots, with a pair of linen-lined boots on top 
of these and a pair of horse skin boots lined with 
bearskin on top of these again. I performed my 
ablutions with hot water close to the fire, but every 
drop of water froze on the inflant. When I washed 
my face the water ran down my beard and froze, and 
when I shook it off it was a sort of snow that fell from 
it. Water dripping from the nose froze on the 
mouflache. I was unable to mount my horse for the 
quantity of clothes I was wearing and my companions 
had to help me into the saddle. 

On reaching Hajj Tarkhan [Aflrakhan], where we 
had parted from Sultan Uzbeg, we found that he had 
moved and was living in the capital of his kingdom. 
We travelled on the river Itil [Volga] and the neigh- 
bouring waters, which were frozen over, and used to 
break a piece of the ice whenever we needed water, 
and put it in a cauldron till it melted, when we used 
it for drinking and cooking. On the fourth day we 
reached the city of Sard, which is the capital of the 
sultan.®'^ We visited him, and after we had answered 
his queflions about our journey and the king of the 
Greeks and his city he gave orders for our maintenance 
and lodging. Sard is one of the finefl of towns, of 
immense extent and crammed with inhabitants, with 
fine bazaars and wide flreets. We rode out one day 
with one of the principal men of the town, intending 
to make a circuit of the place and find out its size. 
We were living at one end of it and we set out in the 
morning, and it was after midday when we reached 
the other. One day we walked across the breadth of 
the town, and the double journey, going and returning, 


took half a day, this too through a continuous line of 
houses, with no ruins and no orchards. It has thirteen 
cathedral and a large niunber of other mosques. The 
inhabitants belong to divers nations; among them are 
Mongols, who are the inhabitants and rulers of the 
country and are in part Muslims, As [Ossetes], who 
are Muslims, and Qipchaqs, Circassians, Russians, 
and Greeks, who are all Chriftians. Each group 
lives in a separate quarter with its own bazaars. 
Merchants and strangers from ‘Iraq, Egypt, Syria, 
and elsewhere, live in a quarter surrounded by a wall, 
in order to protedl their property. 


From Saril I set out for Khwdrizm, which is separated 
from the capital by a desert extending for forty days’ 
march. It is impassable for horses on account of 
the scarcity of fodder and the waggons are drawn 
only by camels. Ten days after leaving Sar4 we 
reached Sardchiik, which means “ Little Sari,” a town 
on the bank of a great and swift-flowing river called 
Uldsd [Ural],^ which is crossed by a bridge of boats 
like the bridge at Baghdad. Here we hired camels 
to take the place of the horses that had drawn our 
waggon hitherto, and sold the horses at the rate of 
four silver dinars per head or less, on account of their 
exhauifion and the cheapness of horses in this town. 
From this point we made a rapid march for thirty 
days, halting only for two hours each day, one in the 
forenoon and one at sunset, to cook and drink millet 
broth. They have with them dried preserved meat 
which they put on top of this, and pour sour milk 
over the whole. Each person eats and sleeps in his 
waggon while it is on the move. Travellers make 
this journey with the utmo^ speed, because of the 
scarcity of herbage. The greater number of camels 
which cross the desert perish and the remainder are 
of no use until the following year, when they are 
fattened up again. Water is obtained from rain-pools 
or shallow wells at known points separated by two or 
three days’ march. 

After crossing this desert we reached KhwArizm, 
which is the larged, greater, moft beautiful and mo^ 
important city of the Turks.® It shakes under the 
weight of its population, whose movements lend it 



the semblance of a billowy sea. One day as I was 
riding in the bazaar I became ^uck in the crowd, 
unable to go either forward or backward. I did not 
know what to do and only with great difficulty made 
my way back. The city is in the dominions of Sultan 
iJzbeg, who is represented by a powerful ami'r called 
Qutliidumilr. I have never seen anywhere in the 
world more excellent people than the Khwarizmians, 
or more generous or more friendly to strangers. They 
have a praiseworthy cu^lom in regard to the prayer- 
services which I have not seen elsewhere. Each 
muezzin goes round the houses adjoining his mosque 
warning them to attend the service, and any person 
who absents himself from the communal prayers is 
beaten by the qidi in the presence of the people. 
In each mosque there is a whip hung up for this 
purpose. The culprit is fined in addition five dinars, 
which are spent on the purposes of th,e mosque or in 
charity. They say that this custom is one which they 
have had from ancient times. Outside the city flows 
the river Jayhiin [Oxus], one of the four rivers of 
Paradise, which freezes over for five months in the 
cold season like the Itil [Volga]. In the summer it 
is navigable for ships as far as Tirmidh [Termez], 
the journey down stream taking ten days. On reach- 
ing Khwarizm I encamped in the outskirts, and the 
qadi, being informed of my arrival, came out to greet 
me with a company of his followers. When we met 
he said to me “ This town is densely populated, and 
you will have difficulty in entering it in the daytime, 
so my assistant will come to condufl you in towards 
the end of the night.” We followed this suggeftion 
and were lodged in a new academy, in which no one 
was living as yet. After the Friday service I went 
with the qadi to his house, which was near the mosque, 
and was taken into a magnificent apartment. It was 
furnished with rich carpets and the walls were hung 



with cloth, and in it there were a number of niches 
each containing vessels of silver-gilt and ‘Irdqi glass. 
This is a custom followed by the people of this country. 

I went with the qadi also to visit the amir Qut- 
Iddumiir and found him reclining on a silk carpet 
with his feet covered, as he was suffering from gout, 
a malady very common among the Turks. He 
questioned me about his sovereign, and the kh^tiin 
Bayaliin and her father and the city of Constantinople. 
Then tables were brought in with roaSted fowls, 
cranes, young pigeons, bread baked with butter, 
biscuits, and sweetmeats, which were followed by 
other tables with fruit, pomegranates prepared for the 
table, some of them served in vessels of gold and silver 
with golden spoons, and others in vessels of glass with 
wooden spoons, and wonderful melons. On our 
return to the academy, the amir sent us rice, flour, 
sheep, butter, spices and loads of wood. The use of 
charcoal is unknown in all these countries, as also in 
India and Persia, In China they make fires with 
atones which burn like charcoal, and when they are 
burned to ashes they knead these with water, dry them 
in the sun, and use them for cooking again until they 
are entirely consumed. One of the habits of the amir 
is this. Every day the qadi goes to his audience-hall 
with his jurisconsults and scribes and sits on a chair 
placed for him, opposite one of the principal amfrs, 
who is attended by eight other great amfrs and shaykhs 
of the Turks. The inhabitants bring up their cases 
for trial, and those which come under the sacred Law 
are decided by the qidf, and the others by these amfrs. 
Their judgments are sound and equitable, because 
they are free from suspicion of partiality and do not 
accept bribes. One Friday, after the service, the 
qddf said to me “ The amir gave in^lruftions that you 
should be given five hundred dirhams and that for 
another five hundred dirhams a banquet should be 



prepared in your honour, to which the shaykhs, 
do6i:ors and principal men were to be invited. I said 
to him ‘ You are preparing a banquet at which the 
gue^s will only eat one or two mouthfuls. If you 
were to give him all the money it would be more 
useful to him.' He said that he would do so and has 
ordered the full thousand to be given to you.” I 
received the-sum (which is equivalent to three hundred 
Moroccan dinars) in a purse borne by a page. The 
same day I had bought a black horse for thirty-five 
silver dinars and ridden it to the mosque, and it was 
out of that thousand and no other that I paid its price. 
Thereafter I became possessed of so many horses 
that I dare not mention their number left some sceptic 
may accuse me of lying, and things continued to go 
better with me all the time until I reached India. I 
had many horses, but I preferred this black horse and 
picketed it in front of all the others. It remained 
with me for three years, and when it died my affairs 
took a turn for the worse. 

On my journey to Khwdrizm I had been accom- 
panied by a merchant from Karbali, a sharif called 
‘Alf. I commissioned him to buy me some garments 
and other things, and he bought me a robe for ten 
dinars, but charged up only eight dinars againft me 
and paid the other two out of his own pocket. I was 
in total ignorance of what he had done until it came 
to my ears in a roundabout way. Not only that, but 
he had lent me some money and when I received the 
amfr’s gift and repaid him what I owed, I wished to 
make him a present over and above in return for his 
kindnesses, but he refused it and refused also my 
suggeftion to present it to a slave boy of his. He was 
the moft open-handed ‘Ir^qi whom I have ever met. 
He decided to travel with me to India, but afterwards 
a party from his native town arrived at Khwirizm on 
their way to China, and fearing left they should accuse 



him to his fellow-townsmen of going to India to beg, 
he set out with them. I heard later on, when I was 
in India, that when he reached Almaliq, which is on 
the frontiers of Turkiilin and China,'* he flayed there 
and sent a slave boy on with all his goods. The slave 
boy was a long time in returning and meanwhile a 
merchant from his native town arrived and put up 
with him in the same caravanseray. The sharif asked 
him to lend him some money until his boy should 
arrive, but the merchant would not do so, and, not 
content with his vile condudl in falling to succour 
the sharif, he tried to put up the price of his lodging 
In the caravanseray against him. The sharif heard of 
this, and was so upset that he went into his room and 
cut his throat. He was found with a spark of life 
ftill in him; they suspefted a slave whom he had of 
murdering him, but he said to them “ Do not wrong 
him, it was I who did this to myself,” and expired the 
same day — may God forgive him ! 

When I made ready to leave Khwirizm I hired 
camels and bought a camel-litter. The servants rode 
some of the horses and we put rugs on the reft because 
of the cold. We entered the desert which is between 
Khwdrizm and Bukhara, an eighteen days’ journey 
through sands, with no settlements on the way except 
the small town of K4t,® which we reached after four 
days’ march. We encamped outside it, by a lake 
which was frozen over and on which the boys were 
playing and sliding. The qidi came out to greet us, 
followed an hour later by the governor and his suite, 
who pressed us to ftay and gave a banquet in our 
honour. In this desert there is a journey of six nights 
without water, after which we reached the town of 
Wabkana [Wafkend]. Thence we travelled for a 
whole day through a continuous series of orchards, 
ftreams, trees and buildings, and reached the city of 
Bukh&ri. This city was formerly the capital of the 



lands beyond the Oxus. It was deil:royed by the 
accursed Tinkiz [Chingiz] the Tatar, the ancestor of 
the kings of ‘Iraq, and all but a few of its mosques, 
academies, and bazaars are now lying in ruins. Its 
inhabitants are looked down upon and their evidence 
[in legal cases] is not accepted in Khwarizm and else- 
where, because of their reputation for fanaticism, 
falsehood and denial of the truth. There is not one 
of its inhabitants today who possesses any theological 
learning or makes any attempt to acquire it.*’ We 
lodged at a hospice in a suburb of Bukhara called 
Fath Abad. The shaykh entertained me at his house 
and invited the principal men of the town. We 
spent a moil delightful night there; the Koran-readers 
recited in pleasing voices, and the preacher delivered 
an address, and then they sang melodiously in Turkish 
and Persian. 

From Bukhari we set out for the camp of the pious 
Sultan Tarmashi'rin, and passed by Nakhshab [Qarshi], 
a small city surrounded by gardens and water channels. 
On the following afternoon we reached the sultan’s 
camp. A merchant lent us a tent in which we spent 
the night, and next day, as the sultan was away hunt- 
ing, I visited his representative, the amir Taqbugha, 
who lodged me near his mosque and gave me a Turkish 
tent of the kind we have already described. That 
night one of my slave girls gave birth to a child. I 
was told at fir« that it was a boy but afterwards I 
found out that it was a girl. She was born under a 
lucky ilar, and from that time on I experienced 
everything to give me joy and satisfaftion. She died 
two months after my arrival in India, as will be related 
in the sequel. 

The Sultan of Turki^lin, Tarmashirin, is a powerful 
sovereign, possessing a large army and a vaft kingdom, 
and upright in his government. His territories lie 
between four of the great kings of the world, the kings 



of China, India, and ‘Iraq and King Uzbeg, all of 
whom send him gifts and show him honour.’ His 
two brothers who preceded him were both infidels. 
One day, after I had prayed the dawn-prayer in the 
mosque, according to my custom, I was told that the 
sultan was present. When he rose from his prayer- 
9arpet I went forward to salute him and he welcomed 
me in Turkish. As he returned on foot to his audience 
hall the people came forward to him with their com- 
plaints and he topped to liften to each petitioner, 
small or great, male or female. Thereafter he sent 
for me, and I found him in a tent seated on a chair 
covered with gold-embroidered silk. The tent was 
lined with silken cloth of gold, and a crown, set with 
jewels and precious ^ones, was suspended over the 
sultan’s head at a cubit’s height. The principal amfrs 
were sitting on chairs to right and left of him and in 
front of him were princes holding fly-whisks. He 
interrogated me about my journeys, his chancellor 
adling as interpreter. We used to attend the prayer- 
services with him (this was during a period of intense 
and perishing cold weather) and he never failed to 
attend the dawn and evening prayers with the con- 
gregation. One day when I was present at the after- 
noon prayer, one of his pages came in with a prayer- 
mat and spread it in the place where the sultan usually 
prayed, saying to the imam “ Our mafter desires you 
to delay the prayer for a moment while he performs 
his ablutions.” The imdm said in Persian “ Is prayer 
for God or Tarmashfrfn ?” and ordered the muezzin 
to recite the second call. The sultan arrived when 
the service was half over, and made the remaining 
two prostrations at the end of the ranks, in the place 
where the shoes are left near the door of the mosque. 
He then performed the prostrations that he had missed, 
and went up laughing to the imdm to shake his hand, 
and sitting down in his place said to me “ When you 



return to your country tell how a Persian mendicant 
a£led thus with the sultan of the Turks.” This shaykh 
used to preach every Friday, exhorting the sultan to 
aft righteously and forbidding him in the harsheil 
terms to aft corruptly and tyrannically, and the sultan 
would sit silent before him and weep. He would 
never accept gifts from the sultan nor eat at his table, 
nor wear the robes presented to him; he was a virtuous 
servant of God. 

When I decided to continue my journey after a 
ftay of fifty-four days with the sultan, he gave me 
seven hundred silver dinars and a sable coat worth a 
hundred dinars, which I had asked of him on account 
of the cold, as well as two horses and two camels. 
After taking leave of him I journeyed to Samarqand, 
which is one of the largest and mo^t perfeftly beautiful 
cities in the world. It is built on the bank of a river 
where the inhabitants promenade after the afternoon 
prayer. There were formerly great palaces along the 
bank, but mo^ of them are in ruins, as also is much 
of the city itself, and it has no walls or gates. Outside 
the city is the grave of Qutham ibn al-‘Abb4s, who 
met a martyr’s death at the conquest of Samarqand.® 
The inhabitants go out to visit it every Sunday and 
Thursday night and the Tatars also visit it, bringing 
large votive offerings of cattle, sheep and money, 
which are used for the maintenance of travellers and 
of the guardians of the hospice. 

We set out from Samarqand and reached Tirmidh 
[Termez], a large town with fine buildings and bazaars 
and traversed by canals. It abounds in grapes and 
quinces of an exquisite flavour, as well as in flesh- 
meats and milk. The inhabitants wash their heads 
in the bath with milk instead of fuller’s earth; the 
proprietor of every bath-house has large jars filled 
with milk, and each man as he enters takes a cupful 
to wash his head. It makes the hair fresh and glossy. 



The Indians put oil of sesame on their heads and after- 
wards wash their hair with fuller’s earth. This 
refreshes the body and makes the hair glossy and 
long, and that is the reason why the Indians and those 
who live in their country have long beards. The old 
town of Tirmidh was built on the bank of the Oxus, 
and when it was laid in ruins by Tinkiz [Chingiz] 
this new town was built two miles from the river. 
Before reaching the city I fell in with its governor 
‘AU al-Mulk Khudawand Zddah, who sent on an 
order for our entertainment as gue^s, and provisions 
Were brought to us every day during our ftay 

We crossed the river Oxus into the land of Khurdsin 
and after a day and a halFs march through a sandy 
uninhabited wadle reached Balkh. It is an utter ruin 
and uninhabited, but anyone seeing it would think 
it inhabited on account of the solidity of its construc- 
tion. The accursed Tinkiz destroyed this city and 
demolished about a third of its mosque on account of 
a treasure which he was told lay under one of its 
columns. He pulled down a third of them and found 
nothing and left the reSt as it was. After leaving 
Balkh we travelled for seven days through the moun- 
tains of QdhiStdn, in which there are numerous in- 
habited villages with running Streams and leafy trees, 
mostly fig-trees, and many hospices inhabited by 
devotees. Thereafter we reached the city of Herat, 
which is the largeSt inhabited city in Khurdsdn. There 
are four large cities in this province, two of them, 
Herdt and Naysdbdr [Nishdpiir] inhabited, and two, 
Balkh and Merv, in ruins. 

The sultan of Herdt is the illuStrious Husayn, son 
of the sultan Ghiydth ad-Dln al-Ghdri, a man of 
notorious bravery and viftorious by the Divine Favotir 
on two fields of battle.® A pious ascetic of great 
merit, called Nizdm ad-Din Mawldna, spent his youth 


at Herat. He was beloved by the people, who would 
come to hear his sermons and exhortations, and who 
made a compadl: with him to repress evildoing. The 
preacher Malik Warna, who was a cousin of the 
king’s, was also a party to this compaft. Whenever 
they learned of any evil aftion, even on the part of 
the king, they took means to repress it. It is said 
that they found out one day that an unlawful aft was 
being committed in King Husayn’s palace, and they 
assembled to put a ftop to it. The king fortified 
himself againft them within the palace, but they 
assembled to the number of six thousand men at the 
gate. In fear of them he sent for Nizam ad-Din 
and the chief men of the town. He had been drinking 
wine and there and then inside his caftle they applied 
to him the punishment prescribed by law and left 
him.^“ Later on Nizam ad-Din was killed by a 
Turkish amir whom he had offended. After this had 
happened King Husayn sent his cousin Malik Warna, 
who had been associated with Nizdm ad-Din in his 
reforming aftivities, as ambassador to the king of 
Sijiftin, and when he arrived there, ordered him to 
ftay there in Sijiftdn and not to return to him. Malik 
Warna went on to India, where I met him as I was 
leaving Sind. He was an excellent man with a liking 
for authority, hunting, falcons, horses, slaves, servants, 
and rich and kingly robes. Now India is no place 
for a man of this charafter. In his case the king of 
India appointed him governor of a small town, and he 
was assassinated there by a man from Herat who was 
living in India. It is said that the king of India was 
the inftigator of his assassin at the inftance of King 
Husayn, and it was for this reason that King Husayn 
acknowledged the king of India as his suzerain after 
the death of Malik Warnd. 

From Herit we journeyed to the town of Jam, 
which is of middling size in a fertile diftrift.“ Moft 



of the trees are mulberries, and there is a great deal 
of silk there. This town derives its name from the 
saint and ascetic Ahmad al-Jam, to whose descendants 
it now belongs (for it is independent of the sultan) 
and who possess great wealth. We went next to 
Tiis, which is one of the larged cities in Khurasan, 
and thence to Mashhad ar-Ridi fMeshhed], which is 
also a large town with abundant fruit-trees, ilrcams, 
and mills. ^ The noble mausoleum is surmounted 
by a great dome of elegant con^trudlion, the walls 
being decorated with coloured tiles. Opposite the 
tomb [of the Imam] is the tomb of Caliph Hariin 
ar-Rashid, which is surmounted by a platform bearing 
chandeliers. When a Shi'ite enters to visit it he kicks 
the tomb of ar-Rashid with his foot, and pronounces 
a blessing on ar-Rida. 

Thence we journeyed through Sarakhs to Zdwa, 
the town of the pious shaykh Qutb ad-Din Haydar,^® 
who has given his name to the Haydari congregation 
of darwishes. These are the darwishes who place 
iron rings in their hands and ears and other parts of 
their bodies. We travelled from there to Naysabiir, 
one of the four capitals of Khurasan. It is given the 
name of “ Little Damascus ” because of its beauty and 
the quantity of its fruit-trees, orchards and ftreams. 
T.hey manufafture here garments of silk and velvet, 
which are exported to India. I stayed at the convent 
of the learned shaykh Qutb ad-Din an-Nays4bilri, who 
showed me great hospitality, and I was witness to 
some astonishing miracles performed by him. I had 
bought in this town a young Turkish slave, and the 
shaykh, seeing him with me, said “ This boy is no 
good to you. Sell him.” I did as he said and sold 
him next day to a merchant, then bade the shaykh 
farewell and left. When I Stopped at BiStam, one of 
my friends wrote to me from Naysabdr and told me 
that the slave had killed a Turkish boy and had been 

177 N 


put to death for it. This is an evident miracle to the 
credit of the shaykh. 

From Naysabiir I travelled to the town of Biftam/'* 
and thence to Qundiis and Baghlin,“ which are villages 
inhabited by shaykhs and pious persons. At Qundiis 
we encamped by a ilream, where there was a hospice 
belonging to an Egyptian shaykh called Shir-i Siyah, 
which means “ The Black Lion.” We were hospitably 
received by the governor of that country, a man from 
Mosul, who lives in a large garden there. We ^ayed 
outside this village about forty days to pasture our 
camels and horses, for there is excellent pasturage 
there and perfeft security, owing to the ^Irift measures 
of the amir, who enforces the Turkish laws regarding 
horse-dealing which we have already mentioned 
[p. 143]. After we had been daying there ten days 
we missed three of our horses, but they were redored 
to us by the Tatars a fortnight later, through fear of 
the application of these laws to themselves. 

Another reason for our halt was fear of the snow, 
for on the road there is a mountain called Hindi^kiish, 
which means “ Slayer of Indians,” because the slave 
boys and girls who are brought from India die there 
in large numbers as a result of the extreme cold and 
the quantity of snow. The passage extends for a 
whole day’s march.“ We dayed until the warm 
weather had definitely set in, and crossed this moun- 
tain by a continuous march from before dawn to 
sunset. We kept spreading felt cloths in front of 
the camels for them to tread on so that they should 
not sink in the snow. On setting out from Baghlin 
we journeyed to a place called Andar [Andardb]. In 
former times there was a town here whose traces have 
disappeared, and we halted at a large village where 
there is a hospice belonging to an excellent man 
n^ed Muhammad al-Mahrawl. We dayed with 
him and he treated us with consideration. When we 



washed our hands after eating he would drink the 
water in which we had washed because of the high 
eileem in which he held us. He travelled with us 
until we climbed the mountain of Hindiikiish men- 
tioned above. On this mountain we found a warm 
^ream spring, and washed our faces in it, with the 
result that the skin peeled off our faces and we suffered 
some pain. 

We halted next at a place called Banj Hfr [Panjshfr], 
which means “ Five Mountains,” where there was once 
a fine and populous city built on a great river with 
blue water like the sea. This country was deva^lated 
by Tinki'z, the king of the Tatars, and has not been 
inhabited since. We came to a mountain called 
Pashay, where there is the convent of the shaykh Atd 
Awliyd, which means “ Father of the Saints.” He is 
also called Si'sad Salah, which is the Persian for “ three 
hundred years,” because they say that he is three 
hundred and fifty years old. They have a very high 
opinion of him and come to visit him from the towns 
and villages, and sultans and princesses visit him too. 
He received us with honour and made us his guests. 
We encamped by a river near his convent and went 
to see him, and when I saluted him he embraced me. 
His skin is fresh and smoother than any I have seen; 
anyone seeing him would take him to be fifty years 
old. He told me that he grew new hair and teeth 
every hundred years. I had some doubts about him, 
however, and God knows how much truth there is 
in what he says. 

We travelled thence to Parwin, where I met the 
amir Buruntayh. He treated me well and wrote to 
his representatives at Ghazna enjoining them to 
show me honour. We went on to the village of 
Charkh [Charikar], it being now summer, and from 
there to the town of Ghazna. This is the town of 
the famous warrior-sultan Mahmdd ibn Sabuktagfn, 



one of the greatest of rulers, who made frequent raids 
into India and captured cities and fortresses there. 
His grave is in this city and is surmounted by a hospice. 
The greater part of the town is in ruins and nothing 
but a fraftion of it remains, though it was once a large 
city. It has an exceedingly cold climate, and the 
inhabitants move from it in the cold season to Qandahar, 
a large and prosperous town three nights’ journey 
from Ghazna, but I did not visit it. We travelled on 
to Kabul, formerly a vail town, the site of which is 
now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of 
Persians called Afghins. They hold mountains and 
defiles and possess considerable ftrength, and are 
mostly highwaymen. Their principal mountain is 
called Kiih Sulaymdn. It is told that the prophet 
Sulaymin [Solomon] ascended this mountain and 
having looked out over India, which was then covered 
with darkness, returned without entering it. 

From Kdbul we rode to Karmash, which is a fortress 
belonging to the Afghans, lying between two hills 
where they intercept traffic on the road. During our 
passage we had an engagement with them. They were 
po^ed on the lower slope of the hill, but we shot 
arrows at them and they fled. Our party was travel- 
ling light and had about four thousand horses. I had 
camels, as a result of which I became separated from 
the caravan along with a party including a number of 
Afghans. We jettisoned some of our provisions and 
abandoned the loads of the camels that were jaded, 
on the route, but next day our horses returned and 
picked them up. We rejoined the caravan in the 
late evening and. passed the night at the station of 
Shashnaghir, which is the laft inhabited place on the 
confines of the Turkish lands. From here we entered 
the great desert which extends for fifteen days and 
can be traversed only in one season of the year, after 
the rains have fallen in Sind and India, that is at the 



beginning of July.^* In this desert blows the deadly 
samiim wind. A great caravan which preceded us 
loil many camels and horses, but our company arrived 
safely — praise be to God ! — at Panj Ab [Indus] which 
is the river of Sind and means “ The Five Rivers.” 
These flow into the great river and irrigate those 
di^lrifts. We reached this river on the night that 
the new moon of Muharram of the year 734 [12th 
September 1333] rose upon us. From this point the 
intelligence officials wrote to India informing the king 
of our arrival and giving him all the details concern- 
ing us. 

Here ends the narrative of this journey. Praise 
be to God, Lord of the worlds. 




When we reached this river called Panj Ab, which 
is the frontier of the territories of the stJtan of India 
and Sind, the officials of the intelligence service came 
to us and sent a report about us to the governor of 
the city of Multin. From Sind to the city of Dihll 
[Delhi], the sultan’s capital, it is fifty days’ march, 
but when the intelligence officers write to the sultan 
from. Sind the letter reaches him in five dajrs by the 
postal service. In India the postal service is of two 
kinds. ^ The mounted couriers travel on horses 
belonging to the sultan with relays every four miles. 
The service of couriers on foot is organized in the 
following manner. At every third of a mile there is 
an inhabited village, outside which there are three 
pavilions. In these sit men girded up ready to move 
off, each of whom has a rod a yard and a half long 
with brass bells at the top. When a courier leaves 
the town he takes the letter in the fingers of one hand 
and the rod with the bells in the other, and runs with 
all his might. The men in the pavilions, on hearing 
the sound of the bells, prepare to meet him, and when 
he reaches them one of them takes the letter in his 
hand and passes on, running with all his might and 
shaking his rod until he reaches the next Elation, 
and so the letter is passed on till it reaches its 
declination. This poCl is quicker than the mounted 
poCl. It is sometimes used to transport fruits from 
Khurdsdn which are highly valued in India; they arc 



put on plates and carried with great speed to the 
sultan. In the same way they transport the principal 
criminals; they are each placed on a stretcher and the 
couriers run carrying the sTiretcher on their heads. 
The sultan’s drinking water is brought to him by the 
same means, when he resides at Dawlat Abad, from 
the river Kank (Ganges), to which the Hindus go on 
pilgrimage and which is at a diiftance ot forty days’ 
journey from there. 

When the intelligence officials write to the sultan 
informing him of those who arrive in his country, 
he Judies the report very minutely. They take the 
utmost care in this matter, telling him that a certain 
man has arrived of such-and-such an appearance and 
dress, and noting the number of his party, slaves and 
servants and beasts, his behaviour both in adion and 
at reft, and all his doings, omitting no details. When 
the new arrival reaches the town of Multan, which is 
the capital of Sind, he ftays there until an order is 
received from the sultan regarding his entry and the 
degree of hospitality to be extended to him. A man 
is honoured in that country according to what may be 
seen of his aftions, conduft, and zeal, since no one 
knows anything of his family or lineage. The king 
of India, Sultan Muhammad Sh^h, makes a praftice 
of honouring ftrangers and diftinguishing them by 
governorships or high dignities of State. The majority 
of his courtiers, palace officials, minifters of ftate, 
judges, and relatives by marriage are foreigners, and 
he has issued a decree that foreigners are to be given 
in his country the title of 'Aziz honourable], so that 
this has become a proper name for them. 

Every person proceeding to the court of this king 
muft needs have a gift ready to present to him, in 
order to gain his favour. The sultan requites him 
for it by a gift many times its value. When his 
subjefts grew accuftomed to this praft:ice,the merchants 



in Sind and India began to furnish each newcomer 
with thousands of dinars as a loan, and to supply him 
with whatever he might desire to offer as a gift or to 
use on his own behalf, such as riding animals, camels, 
and goods. They place both their money and their 
persons at his service, and ^fand before him like 
attendants. When he reaches the sultan, he receives 
a magnificent gift from him and pays off his debt to 
them. This trade of theirs is a flourishing one and 
brings in vast profits. On reaching Sind 1 followed 
this praftice and bought horses, camels, white slaves 
and other goods from the merchants. I had already 
bought from an ‘Iraqi merchant in Ghazna about 
thirty horses and a camel with a load of arrows, for 
this is one of the things presented to the sultan. This 
merchant went off to Khurasan and on returning to 
India received his money from me. He made an 
enormous profit through me and became one of the 
principal merchants. I met him many years later, 
at Aleppo, when the infidels had robbed me of every- 
thing I possessed, but he gave me no assi^ance. 

After crossing the river of Sind called Panj Ab, 
our way led through a forest of reeds, in which I saw 
a rhinoceros for the firft time. After two days’ 
march we reached Janini, a large and fine town on 
the bank of the river of Sind. Its people are a people 
called the Samira, whose ancestors e^ablished them- 
selves there on the conque^ of Sind in the time of 
al-Hajjaj [712 a.d.]. These people never eat with 
anyone, nor may anyone observe them while they are 
eating, and they never marry outside their clan.“ 
From Jandnf we travelled to Sfwasitdn [Sehwan], a 
large town, outside which is a sandy desert, treeless 
except for acacias. Nothing is grown on the river 
here except pumpkins, and the food of the inhabitants 
considls of sorghum and peas, of which they make 
bread. There is a plentiful supply of fish and buffalo 



milk, and they eat also a kind of small lizard stuffed 
with curcuma. When I saw this small animal and 
them eating it, I took a loathing at it and would not 
eat it. We entered Sfwasitan during the hotted 
period of the summer. The heat was intense, and my 
companions used to sit naked except for a cloth round 
the waift and another soaked with water on their 
shoulders ; this dried in a very short time and they had 
to keep conftantly wetting it again.® 

In this town I met the diftinguished doftor ‘Ala 
al-Mulk of Khurasan, formerly qadi of Herdt, who 
had come to join the king of India and had been 
appointed governor of the town and province of 
Ldharl in Sind. I decided to travel thither with him. 
He had fifteen ships with which he sailed down the 
river, carrying his baggage. One of these was a ship 
called the ^awrah^ resembling the tartan of our 
country, but broader and shorter. In the centre of 
it there was a wooden cabin reached by a ilaircase, 
and on top of this there was a place prepared for the 
governor to sit in. His suite sat in front of him and 
slaves ^tood to right and left, while the crew of about 
forty men rowed. Accompanying the ahawrah were 
four ships to right and left, two of which carried 
the governor’s ftandards, kettledrums, trumpets and 
singers. FirS the drums and trumpets were sounded 
and then the musicians sang, and this continued 
alternately from early morning to the lunch hour. 
When this moment arrived, the ships closed up and 
gangways were placed from one to the other. The 
musicians then came from on board the governor’s 
ahawrah and sang until he finished eating, when they 
had their meal and returned to their vessel. The 
journey continued thereafter as before until nightfall. 
The camp was then set up on the bank of the river, 
the governor disembarked, tables were set and rno^l 
of the troops joined in the meal. After the la^l evening 


prayer sentries were po^ed for the night in reliefs. 
As each relief finished its tour of duty one of them 
cried in a loud voice “ O lord King/ so many hours 
of the night are pa^.” At dawn the trumpets and 
drums sounded and the dawn prayer was said, then 
food was brought and when the meal was finished they 
resumed their journey. 

After five days’ travelling we reached ‘Ala al-Mulk’s 
province, Lahan', a fine town on the coail where the 
river of Sind discharges itself into the ocean.® It 
possesses a large harbour, visited by men from Yemen, 
Firs, and elsewhere. For this reason its contribu- 
tions to the Treasury and its revenues are consider- 
able; the governor told me that the revenue from 
this town amounted to sixty lakhs per annum. The 
governor receives a twentieth part of this, that being 
the footing on which the sultan commits the pro- 
vinces to his governors. I rode out one day with 
‘Ali al-Mulk, and we came to a plain called Tirna, 
seven miles from Lihari, where I saw an innumerable 
quantity of Clones in the shape of men and animals. 
Many of them were disfigured and their forms effaced, 
but there remained a head or a foot or something of 
the sort. Some of the ^ones also had the shape of 
. grains of wheat, chickpeas, beans and lentils, and there 
were remains of a city wall and house walls. We saw 
too the ruins of a house with a chamber of hewn 
Clones, in the midft of which there was a platform of 
hewn ^ones resembling a single block, surmounted 
by a human figure, except that its head was elongated 
and its mouth on the side of its face and its hands 
behind its back like a pinioned captive. The place 
had pools of linking water and an inscription on one 
of its walls in Indian charafters. ‘Aid ^-Mulk told 
me that the hiftorians relate that in this place there 
was a great city whose inhabitants were so depraved 
that they were turned to dlone, and that it is their 



king who is on the terrace in the house, which is still 
called “ the king’s palace.” They add that the in- 
scription gives the date of the deilrudion of the people 
of that city, which occurred about a thousand years 

When I had spent five days in this city with ‘Ala 
al-Mulk, he gave me a generous travelling provision 
and I left for the town of Bakdr, a fine city intersefted 
by a channel from the river of Sind.'^ In the middle 
of this canal there is a fine hospice at which travellers 
are entertained. Thereafter I travelled from Bakiir to 
the large town of Oja [Uch] which lies on the bank 
of the river and has fine bazaars and buildings. The 
governor there at the time was the excellent king, the 
Sharif Jalil ad-Di'n al-Kiji, a gallant and generous 
man. We formed a drong affedion for one another, 
and met later on at the capital, Delhi. When the 
sultan left for Dawlat Abad and bade me remain in 
the capital, Jalil ad-Dfn said to me “ You will require 
a large sum for your expenses and the sultan will 
be away for a long time, so take my village and use its 
revenues until I return.” 1 did so and gained about 
five thousand dinars — may God give him riched 
recompense 1 From Oja I travelled to Multan, the 
capital of Sind and residence of the principal amir. 

On the road to Multan and ten miles didant from 
it is the river called Khusraw Abad, a large river that 
cannot be crossed except by boat.® At this point the 
goods and baggage of all who pass are subjeded to 
a rigorous examination. Their cudom at the time 
of our arrival was to take a quarter of everything 
brought in by the merchants, and exaft a duty of 
seven dinars for every horse. The idea of having my 
baggage searched was very disagreeable to me, for 
there was nothing valuable in it, though it seemed 
a great deal in the eyes of the people. By the grace 
of God there arrived on the scene one of the principal 



officers from the governor of Multan, who gave orders 
that I should not be subjefted to examination or search. 
We spent that night on the bank of the river and next 
morning were visited by the posdma^ler, who is the 
person who keeps the sultan informed of affairs in 
that town and diifriiff and of all that happens in it 
and all who come to it. I was introduced to him and 
went in his company to visit the governor of Multdn, 
Qutb al-Mulk. 

When I entered his presence, he rose to greet me, 
shook my hand, and bade me sit beside him. I 
presented him with a white slave, a horse, and some 
raisins and almonds. These are among the greatest 
gifts that can be made to them, since they do not 
grow in their land and are imported from Khurasan. 
The governor sat on a large carpeted dais, with the 
army commanders on his right and left and armed 
men Standing at his back. The troops are passed in 
review before him and a number or bows are kept 
there. When anyone comes desiring to be enrolled 
in the army as an archer, he is given one of the bows 
to draw'. They differ in stiffness, and his pay is 
graduated according to the strength he shows in 
drawing them. Anyone desiring to be enrolled as a 
trooper sets off his horse at a canter or gallop and 
tries to hit a target set up there with his lance. There 
is a ring there too, suspended to a low wall ; the candi- 
date sets off his horse at a canter until he comes level 
with the ring, and if he lifts it off with his lance he 
is accounted by them a good horseman. For those 
wishing to be enrolled as mounted archers there is a 
ball placed on the ground, and their pay is propor- 
tioned to their accuracy in hitting it with an arrow 
while going at a canter or gallop. 

Two months after we reached Multan one of the 
sultan’s household officers and the chief of police 
arrived to arrange for the journey of the new arrivals 



[to Delhi]. They came to me together and asked me 
why I had come to India. I replied that I had come 
to enter the service of the Khund Alam [“ Mailer of 
the World ”], as the sultan is called in his dominions. 
He had given orders that no one coming from 
Khurasdn should be allowed to enter India unless he 
came with the intention of ilaying there. When I 
had given my answer they called the qadi and notaries 
and drew up a document witnessing to my under- 
taking and those of my company who wished to 
remain in India, but some of them refused to engage 
themselves. We then prepared for the journey to 
the capital, which is forty days’ march from Multdn 
through a continuous ilretch of inhabited country. 
The principal member of our party was Khudhawand 
Zidah, qddi of Tirmidh, who had come with his wife 
and children. The chamberlain made special arrange- 
ments for his journey and took twenty cooks with 
him from Multan, himself going ahead with them 
every night to prepare his meals, etc. 

The firft town we reached after leaving Multin 
was Abiihar [Abohar], which is the firft town in India 
proper, and thence we entered a plain extending for 
a day’s journey. On the borders of this plain are 
inaccessible mountains, inhabited by Hindu infidels; 
some of them are subjedls [ryots] under Muslim rule, 
and live in villages governed by a Muslim headman 
appointed by the governor in whose fief the village 
lies. Others of them are rebels and warriors, who 
maintain themselves in the fatnesses of the moun- 
tains and make |)lundering raids. On this road we 
fell in with a raiding party, this being the firil engage- 
ment I witnessed in India. The main party had left 
Abdhar in the early morning, but I had flayed there 
with a small party of my companions until midday 
and when we left, numbering in all twenty-two horse- 
men, partly Arabs and partly Persians and Turks, we 



were attacked on this plain by eighty infidels on foot 
with two horsemen. My companions were men of 
courage and ability and we fought Cloudy with them, 
killing one of the horsemen and about twelve of the 
footsoldiers. I was hit by an arrow and my horse 
by another, but God preserved me from them, for 
there is no force in their arrows. One of our party 
had his horse wounded, but we gave him in exchange 
the horse we had captured from the infidel, and killed 
the wounded horse, which was eaten by the Turks 
of our party. We carried the heads of the slain to 
the caftle of Abii Bak’har, which we reached about 
midnight, and suspended them from the wall. 

Two days later we reached Ajiidahan [Pakpattan], 
a small town belonging to the pious Shaykh Farid 
ad-Din.® As I returned to the camp after visiting 
this personage, I saw the people hurrying out, and some 
of our party along with them. I asked them what 
was happening and they told me that one of the Hindu 
infidels had died, that a fire had been kindled to burn 
him, and his wife would burn herself along with him. 
After the burning my companions came back and told 
me that she had embraced the dead man until she 
herself was burned with him. Later on I used often 
to see a Hindu woman, richly dressed, riding on horse- 
back, followed by both Muslims and infidels and pre- 
ceded by drums and trumpets; she was accompanied 
by Brahmans, who are the chiefs of the Hindus. In 
the sultan’s dominions they ask his permission to 
burn her, which he accords them. The burning of 
the wife after her husband’s death is regarded by them 
as a commendable a£l, but is not compulsory; only 
when a widow burns herself her family acquire a 
certain preftige by it and gain a reputation for fidelity. 
A widow who does not burn herself dresses in coarse 
garments and lives with her own people in misery, 
despised for her lack of fidelity, but she is not forced 



to burn herself. Once in the town of Amjari [Am- 
jhera, near Dhar] I saw three women whose husbands 
had been killed in battle and who had agreed to burn 
themselves. Each one had a horse brought to her 
and mounted it, richly dressed and perfumed. In her 
right hand she held a coconut, with which she played, 
and in her left a mirror, in which she looked at her 
face. They were surrounded by Brahmans and their 
own relatives, and were preceded by drums, trumpets 
and bugles. Everyone of the infidels said to them 
“ Take greetings from me to my father, or brother 
or mother, or friend ” and they would say “ Yes ” 
and smile at them. I rode out with my companions 
to see the way in which the burning was carried out. 
After three miles we came to a dark place with much 
water and shady trees, amongft which there were four 
pavilions, each containing a ^lone idol. Between the 
pavilions there was a basin of water over which a 
dense shade was caft by trees so thickly set that the 
sun could not penetrate them. The place looked like 
a spot in hell — God preserve us from it ! On reach- 
ing these pavilions they descended to the pool, plunged 
into it and diverted themselves of their clothes and 
ornaments, which they diilributed as alms. Each one 
was then given an unsewn garment of coarse cotton 
and tied part of it round her wai^l and part over her 
head and shoulders. The fires had been lit near this 
basin in a low lying spot, and oil of sesame poured 
over them, so that the flames were increased. There 
were about fifteen men there with faggots of thin 
wood and about ten others with heavy pieces of wood, 
and the drummers and trumpeters were standing by 
waiting for the woman’s coming. The fire was 
screened off by a blanket held ,by some men, so that 
she should not be frightened by the sight of it. I saw 
one of them, on coming to the blanket, pull it violently 
out of the men’s hands, saying to them with a smile 



“ Do you frighten me with the fire ? I know that it 
is a fire, so let me alone.” Thereupon she joined 
her hands above her head in salutation to the fire and 
cail herself into it. At the same moment the drums, 
trumpets and bugles were sounded, the men threw 
their firewood on her and the others put the heavy 
wood on top of her to prevent her moving, cries were 
raised and there was a loud clamour. When I saw 
this I had all but fallen oflF my horse, if my companions 
had not quickly brought water to me and laved my 
face, after which I withdrew. 

The Indians have a similar praftice of drowning 
themselves and many of them do so in the river 
Ganges, the river to which they go on pilgrimage, 
and into which the ashes of those who are burned are 
ca^. They say that it is a river of Paradise. When 
one of them comes to drown himself he says to those 
present with him, “ Do not think that I drown myself 
for any worldly reason or through penury; my purpose 
is solely to seek approach to Kusiy,” Kusdy being the 
name of God in their language.^® He then drowns 
himself, and when he is dead they take him out and 
burn him and cafl: his ashes into this river. 

Let us return to our original topic. We set out 
from the town of Ajiidahan, and' after four days’ 
march reached Sarasati [Sarstiti or Sirsa], a large town 
with quantities of rice of an excellent sort which is 
exported to the capital, Delhi. The town produces 
a large revenue; I was told how much it is, but have 
forgotten the figure. Thence we travelled to Hdnsl, 
an exceedingly fine, well built and populous city, 
surrounded by a wall. Two days later we came to 
Mas'dd Abdd, which is ten miles from Delhi,^^ and 
there we spent three days. The sultan was away at 
the time in the di^rift of the town of Qanawj, which 
is ten days’ march from Delhi, but the queen-mother 
was in the capital, and also the stdtan’s wazfr. He 

193 o 


sent his officers to receive us, designating for each 
one of us a person of his own rank. Meanwhile he 
wrote to inform the sultan of our arrival, sending the 
letter by courier poft, and received the svil tan’s reply 
during the three days that we spent at Mas'dd Abad. 
Thereafter the qidis, doftors and shaykhs, and some 
of the amirs came out to meet us. The Indians call 
the amirs “ kings,” using the term “ king ” where the 
people of Diyar-Bakr, Egypt, and dsewhere say 
“amir.” We then set out from Mas'iid Abdd and 
halted near a village called Pdlam. On the next day 
we arrived at the city of Dihll [Delhi], the metropolis 
of India, a va^l and magnificent city, uniting beauty 
with strength. It is surrounded by a wall that has 
no equal in the world, and is the largest city in India, 
nay rather the largeft city in the entire Muslim 

The city of Delhi is made up now of four neigh- 
bouring and contiguous towns. One of them is 
Delhi proper, the old city built by the infidels and 
captured in the year ii88. The second is called 
Slrl, known also as the Abode of the Caliphate; this 
was the town given by the sultan to Ghiydth ad-Dln, 
the grandson of the ‘Abbasid Caliph Muftansir, when 
he came to his court. The third is called Tughlaq 
Abad, after its founder, the Sultan Tughlaq, the 
father of the sultan of India to whose court we came. 
The reason why he built it was that one day he said 
to a former sultan “ O ma^er of the world, it were 
fitting that a city should be built here.” The sultan 
replied to him in je^l “ When you are sultan, build 
it.” It came about by the decree of God that he 
became sultan, so he built it and called it by his own 
name. The fourth is called Jahan Pandh, and is 
set apart for the residence of the reigning sultan, 
Muhammad Shdh. He was the founder of it, and it 
was his intention to unite these four towns within 



a single wall, but after building part of it he gave 
up the rc^t because of the expense required for its 

The cathedral mosque occupies a large area; its 
walls, roof, and paving are all conftrufted of white 
Clones, admirably squared and firmly cemented with 
lead. There is no wood in it at all. It has thirteen 
domes of ftone, its pulpit also is made of ftone, and 
it has four courts. In the centre of the mosque is an 
awe-inspiring column, and nobody knows of what 
metal it is conftrufted. One of their learned men told 
me that it is called Haft Jish, which means “ seven 
metals,” and that it is conilrudled from these seven. 
A part of this column, of a finger’s breadth, has been 
polished, and gives out a brilliant gleam. Iron makes 
no impression on it. It is thirty cubits high,^® and 
we rolled a turban round it, and the portion which 
encircled it measured eight cubits. At the eastern 
gate there are two enormous idols of brass prostrate 
on the ground and held by Clones, and everyone 
entering or leaving the mosque treads on them. The 
site was formerly occupied by an idol temple, and was 
converted into a mosque on the conquest of the city. 
In the northern court is the minaret, which has no 
parallel in the lands of Islam. It is built of red ^tone, 
unlike the re^k of the edifice, ornamented with sculp- 
tures, and of great height. The ball on the top is of 
glistening white marble and its “ apples ” [small balls 
surmounting a minaret] are of pure gold. The 
passage is so wide that elephants could go up by it. 
A person in whom I have confidence told me that when 
it was built he saw an elephant climbing with Stones 
to the top. The Sultan Qutb ad-Din wished to build 
one in the weStern court even larger, but was cut off 
by death when only a third of it had been completed. 
This minaret is one of the wonders of the world for 
size, and the width of its passage is such that three 



elephants could mount it abreail. The third of it 
built equals in height the whole of the other minaret 
we have mentioned in the northern court, though to 
one looking at it from below it does not seem so high 
because of its bulk. 

Outside Delhi is a large reservoir named after the 
Sultan Lalmish, from which the inhabitants draw 
their drinking water. It is supplied by rain water, 
and is about two miles in length by half that breadth. 
In the centre there is a great pavilion built of squared 
Clones, two Tories high. When the reservoir is filled 
with water it can be reached only in boats, but when 
the water is low the people go into it. Inside it is 
a mosque, and at mo^ times it is occupied by mendi- 
cants devoted to the service of God. When the water 
dries up at the sides of this reservoir, they sow sugar 
canes, cucumbers, green melons and pumpkins there. 
The melons and pumpkins are very sweet but of small 
size. Between Delhi and the Abode of the Caliphate 
is the private reservoir, which is larger than the other. 
Along its sides there are about forty pavilions, and 
round about it live the musicians. 

Among the learned and pious inhabitants of Delhi 
is the devout and humble imam Kamil ad-Din, called 
“ The Cave Man ” from the cave in which he lives 
outside the city. I had a slave-boy who ran away 
from me, and whom I found in the possession of a 
certain Turk. I proposed to take him back from him, 
but the shaykh said to me “ This boy is no good to 
you. Don’t take him.” The Turk wished to come 
to an arrangement, so he paid me a hundred dinars 
and kept the boy. Six months later the boy killed 
his mailer and was taken before the sultan, who 
ordered him to he handed over to his mailer’s sons, 
and they put him to death. When I saw this miracle 
on the part of the shaykh I attached myself to him, 
withdrawing from the world and giving all that I 


possessed to the poor and needy. I stayed with him 
for some time, and I used to see him fall for ten and 
twenty days on end and remain ^landing moft of the 
night. I continued with him until the sultan sent 
for me and I became entangled in the world once 
again — may God give me a good ending! 

This king is of all men the fondest of making gifts 
and of shedding blood. His gate is never without 
some poor man enriched or some living man executed, 
and Glories are current amongil the people of his 
generosity and courage and of his cruelty and violence 
towards criminals. For all that, he is of all men the 
moil humble and the readieil to show equity and 
juilice. The ceremonies of religion are ilriftly 
complied with at his court, and he is severe in the 
matter of attendance at prayer and in punishing those 
who negledl it. He is one of those kings whose 
felicity is unimpaired and surpassing all ordinary 
experience, but his dominant quality is generosity. 
We shall relate some Glories of this that are marvellous 
beyond anything ever heard before, and I call God and 
his Angels and His Prophets to witness that all that I tell 
of his extraordinary generosity is absolute truth. I know 
that some of the in^lances I shall relate will be unaccept- 
able to the minds of many, and that they will regard 
them as quite impossible, but in a matter which I 
have seen with my own eyes and of which I know 
the accuracy and have had a large share, I cannot do 
otherwise than speak the truth.^* 

The sultan’s palace at Delhi is called Ddr Sard, 
and contains many doors. At the fir^l door there are 
a number of guardians, and beside it trumpeters and 
flute-players. When any amir or person of note arrives, 
they sound their instruments and say “ So-and-so has 
come, so-and-so has come.” The same takes place also at 
the second and third doors. Outside the firSl door are 
platforms on which the executioners sit, for the cuSlom 



amongst them is that when the sultan orders a man 
to be executed, the sentence is carried out at the door 
of the audience hall, and the body lies there over 
three nights. Between the fir^l and second doors 
there is a large vestibule with platforms along both 
sides, on which sit those whose turn of duty it is to 
guard the doors. Between the second and third 
doors there is a large platform on which the principal 
naqib [keeper of the register] sits; in front of him 
there is a gold mace, which he holds in his hand, 
and on his head he wears a jewelled tiara of gold, 
surmounted by peacock feathers. The second door 
leads to an extensive audience hall in which the people 
sit. At the third door there are platforms occupied 
by the scribes of the door. One of their customs is 
that none may pass through this door except those 
whom the sultan has prescribed, and for each person 
he prescribes a number of his ilaff to enter along with 
him. Whenever any person comes to this door the 
scribes write down “ So-and-so came at the firil hour ” 
or the second, and so on, and the sultan receives a 
report of this after the evening prayer. Another of 
their cuiloms is that anyone who absents himself 
from the palace for three days or more, with or with- 
out excuse, may not enter this door thereafter except 
by the sultan’s permission. If he has an excuse of 
illness or otherwise he presents the sultan with a gift 
suitable to his rank. The third door opens into an 
immense audience hall called Hazdr Uffun, which 
means “ A thousand pillars.” The pillars are of wood 
and support a wooden roof, admirably carved. The 
people sit under this, and it is in this hall that the 
sultan holds public audiences. 

As a rule his audiences are held in the afternoon, 
though he often holds them early in the day. He 
sits cross-legged on a throne placed on a dais carpeted 
in white, with a large cushion behind him and two 



others as arm-refts on his right and left. When he 
takes his seat, the wazlr ^ands in front of him, the 
secretaries behind the wazir, then the chamberlains 
and so on in order of precedence. As the sultan sits 
down the chamberlains and naqibs say in their loudest 
voice Bismillah. At the sultan’s head Elands the 
“ great king ” Qabiila with a fly-whisk in his hand 
to drive off the flies. A hundred armour-bearers 
ftand on the right and a like number on the left, 
carrying shields, swords, and bows. The other 
funftionaries and notables ffand along the hall to right 
and left. Then they bring in sixty horses with the 
royal harness, half of which are ranged on the right 
and half on the left, where the sultan can see them. 
Next fifty elephants are brought in, which are adorned 
with silken cloths, and have their tusks shod with iron 
for greater efficacy in killing criminals. On the neck 
of each elephant is its mahout, who carries a sort of 
iron axe with which he punishes it and direfts it to 
do what is required of it. Each elephant has on its 
back a sort of large cheif capable of holding twenty 
warriors or more or less, according to the size of the 
beaft. These elephants are trained to make obeisance 
to the sultan and incline their heads, and when they 
do so the chamberlains cry in a loud voice Bismillah. 
They also are arranged half on the right and half on 
the left behind the persons landing. As each person 
enters who has an appointed place of standing on thC' 
right or left, he makes obeisance on reaching the 
Elation of the chamberlains, and the chamberlains say 
Bismillah, regulating the loudness of their utterance 
by the rank of the person concerned, who then retires 
to his appointed place, beyond which he never passes. 
If it is one of the infidel Hindus who makes obeisance, 
the chamberlains say to him “ God guide thee.” 

If there should be anyone at the door who has 
come to offer the sultan a gift, the chamberlains enter 



the sultan’s presence in order of precedence, make 
obeisance in three places, and inform the sultan of 
the person at the door. If he commands them to 
bring him in, they place the gift in the hands of men 
who ^and with it in front of the sultan where he can 
see it. He then calls in the donor, who makes 
obeisance three times before reaching the sultan and 
makes another obeisance at the Nation of the chamber- 
lains. The sultan then addresses him in person with 
the greatest courtesy and bids him welcome. If he 
is a person who is worthy of honour, the sultan takes 
him by the hand or embraces him, and asks for some 
part of his present. It is then placed before him, 
and if it consifts in weapons or fabrics he turns it this 
way and that with his hand and expresses his approval, 
to set the donor at ease and encourage him. He gives 
him a robe of honour and assigns him a sum of money 
to wash his head, according to their cu^om in this 
case, proportioned to his merits. 

When the sultan returns from a journey, the 
elephants are decorated, and on sixteen of them are 
placed sixteen parasols, some brocaded and some set 
with jewels. Wooden pavilions are built several 
Tories high and covered with silk cloths, and in each 
^lory there are singing girls wearing magnificent 
dresses and ornaments, with dancing girls amongst 
them. In the centre of each pavilion is a large tank 
made of skins and filled with syrup-water, from which 
all the people, natives or strangers, may drink, re- 
ceiving at the same time betel leaves and areca nuts. 
The space between the pavilions is carpeted with silk 
cloths, on which the sultan’s horse treads. The walls 
of the street along which he passes from the gate of 
the city to the gate of the palace are hung with silk 
cloths. In front of him march footmen from his 
own slaves, several thousands in number, and behind 
come the mob and the soldiers. On one of his entries 



into the capital I saw three or four small catapults 
placed on elephants throwing gold and silver coins 
amongft the people from the moment when he entered 
the city until he reached the palace. 

I shall now mention a few of his magnificent gifts 
and largesses. The merchant Shihib ad - Din of 
Kdzarfin, who was a friend of al-Kazarfini, the “ king ” 
of the merchants in India, was invited by the latter 
to join him and arrived with a valuable present for 
the sultan. On their way they were attacked by a 
considerable force of infidels, who killed the “ king ” 
of the merchants and carried off as booty his money 
and treasures and Shihab ad-Din’s present. Shihab 
ad-Dln himself escaped with his life, and the sultan, 
on hearing of this, gave orders that he should be given 
thirty thousand dinars and return to his own country. 
He refused to accept it, however, saying that he had 
come for the express purpose of seeing the sultan 
and kissing the ground before him. They wrote to 
the sultan to this effeft and he, gratified with what 
Shihdb ad-Din had said, commanded him to be brought 
to Delhi with every mark of honour. When Shihib 
ad-Din was introduced into the sultan’s presence, the 
sultan made him a rich present, and some days later 
asked where he was. On hearing that he was ill, 
he commanded one of his courtiers to go instantly 
to the treasury and take a hundred thousand tangahs 
of gold (the tangah being worth two and a half 
Moroccan dinars) and carry them to him to set him 
at ease. He ordered him to buy with this money 
what Indian goods he pleased, and gave in^rudfions 
that no one else ' should buy anything at all until 
Shihdb ad-Dln had made all his purchases. In addi- 
tion he ordered three ships to be made ready for his 
journey with complete equipment and full pay and 
provisions for the crew. So Shihab ad-Dfn departed 
and disembarked in the island of Hormuz, where he 


built a great house. I saw this house later on, and I 
saw also Shihdb ad-Din, having lofl all that he had, 
soliciting a gift at Shiraz from its sultan, Abvl Ishiq. 
That is the way with riches amassed in these Indian 
lands; it is only rarely that anyone gets out of the 
country with them, and when he does leave it and 
reaches some other country, God sends upon him 
some calamity which annihilates all that he possesses. 
So it happened to Shihdb ad-Din, for everything that 
he had was taken from him in the civil war between 
the king of Hormuz and his nephews, and he left the 
country Gripped of all his wealth. 

The doftor Shams ad-Din, who was a philosopher 
and a born poet, wrote a laudatory ode to the sultan 
in Persian. The ode contained twenty-seven verses, 
and the sultan gave him a thousand silver dinars for 
each verse. This is more than has ever been related 
of former kings, for they used to give a thousand 
dirhams for each verse, which is only a tenth of the 
sultan’s gift. Then too when the sultan heard the 
ilory of the learned and pious qadi Majd ad-Din of 
Shiraz, whose hiilory we have written in the firfb 
volume, he sent ten thousand silver dinars to him at 
Shiraz. Again, Burhdn ad-Din of Sdgharj [near 
Samarqand] was a preacher and imdm so liberal in 
spending what he possessed that he used often to 
contradl debts in order to give to others. The sultan 
heard of him and sent him forty thousand dinars, 
with a request that he would come to Delhi. He 
accepted the gift and paid his debts with it, but went 
off to Cathay and refused to come to the sultan, saying 
“ I shall not go to a sultan in whose presence scholars 
have to iland.” 

One of the Indian nobles claimed that the sultan 
had put his brother to death without cause, and cited 
him before the qddi. The sultan walked on foot and 
unarmed to the qidi’s tribunal, saluted him and made 



obeisance, having previously commanded the qadi not 
to rise before him or move when he entered his court, 
and remained islanding before him. The qadi gave 
judgment against the sultan, to the effedl that he muft 
give satisfaftion to his adversary for the blood of his 
brother, and he did so. At another time a certain 
Muslim claimed that the sultan owed him a sum of 
money. They carried the matter before the qadi, 
who gave judgment againil the sultan for the payment 
of the debt, and he paid it. 

When a famine broke out in India and Sind, and 
prices became so high that a maund of wheat rose 
to six dinars, the sultan ordered that every person in 
Delhi should be given six months’ provisions from 
the granary, at the rate of a pound and a half per 
person per day, small or great, freeman or slave. The 
dodlors and qddis set about compiling regifters of the 
population of each quarter and brought the people, 
each of whom received six months’ provisions. 

In spite of all we have said of his humility, juSlice, 
compassion for the needy, and extraordinary generosity, 
the sultan was far too ready to shed blood. He 
punished small faults and great, without respedl of 
persons, whether men of learning, piety, or high 
Nation. Every day hundreds of people, chained, 
pinioned, and fettered, are brought to his hall, and 
those who are for execution are executed, those for 
torture tortured, and those for beating beaten. It is 
his cu^om that every day all persons who are in his 
prison are brought to the hall, except only on Fridays ; 
this is a day of respite for them, on which they clean 
themselves and remain at ease — may God deliver us 
from misfortune ! The sultan had a half-brother 
named Mas'iid Khan, whose mother was the daughter 
of Sultan ‘Ala ad-Din, and who was one of the moH 
beautiful men I have ever seen on earth. He suspedled 
him of wishing to revolt, and queftioned him. on the 



matter. Mas'iid confessed through fear of torture, 
for anyone who denies an accusation of this sort which 
the sultan formulates againft him is put to the torture, 
and the people consider death a lighter affliftion than 
torture. The sultan gave orders that he should be 
beheaded in the market place, and his body lay there 
for three days according to their custom. 

One of the graveil charges against the sultan is 
that of compelling the inhabitants of Delhi to leave 
the town. The reason for this was that they used to 
write missives reviling and insulting him, seal them 
and inscribe them, “ By the hand of the Mailer of 
the World, none but he may read this." They then 
threw them into the audience-hall at night, and when 
the sultan broke the seal he found them full of insults 
and abuse. He decided to lay Delhi in ruins, and 
having bought from all the inhabitants their houses 
and dwellings and paid them the price of them, he 
commanded them to move to Dawlat Abad.^® They 
refused, and his herald was sent to proclaim that no 
person should remain in the city after three nights. 
The majority complied with the order, but some of 
them hid in the houses. The sultan ordered a search 
to be made for any persons remaining in the town, 
and his slaves found two men in the streets, one a 
cripple and the other blind. They were brought 
before him and he gave orders that the cripple should 
be flung from a mangonel and the blind man dragged 
from Delhi to Dawlat Abad, a di^ance of forty days’ 
journey. He fell to pieces on the road and all of him 
that reached Dawlat Abdd was his leg. When the 
sultan did this, every person left the town, abandoning 
furniture and possessions, and the city remained 
utterly deserted. A person in whom I have con- 
fldence told me that the sultan mounted one night 
to the roof of his palace and looked out over Delhi, 
where there was neither Are nor smoke nor lamp, 



and said “ Now my mind is tranquil and my wrath 
appeased.” Afterwards he wrote to the inhabitants of 
the other cities commanding them to move to Delhi 
to repopulate it. The result was only to ruin their 
cities and leave Delhi ifill unpopulated, because of 
its immensity, for it is one of the greatest cities in 
the world. It was in this ^late that we found it on 
our arrival, empty and unpopulated, save for a few 

Let us return now to that which concerns us, and 
relate how we arrived fir^l at the capital and our for- 
tunes until we left his service. We reached Delhi 
during the sviltan’s absence, and proceeded to the 
palace, where, after passing the firil, second, and third 
doors, the principal naqib introduced us into a spacious 
audience-hall. Here we found the wazir awaiting us. 
On passing through the third door the great hdl 
called Hazdr USlin, where the sultan holds his public 
audiences, met our eyes. Thereupon the wazfr made 
obeisance until his head nearly touched the ground, 
and we too made obeisance by inclining the body and 
touching the ground with our fingers, in the direftion 
of the sultan’s throne. When we had performed this 
ceremony the naqibs cried in a loud voice Bismillah, 
and we all retired. 

After visiting the palace of the sultan’s mother and 
presenting her with a gift, we returned to the house 
which had been prepared for our occupation, and 
hospitality-gifts were sent to us. In the house I 
found everything that was required in the way of 
furniture, carpets, mats, vessels, and bed. The beds 
in India are light, and can be carried by a single man; 
every person when travelling has to transport his own 
bed, which his slave boy carries on his head. It 
consifts of four conical legs with four crosspieces of 
wood on which braids of silk or cotton are woven. 
When one lies down on it, there is no need for any- 



thing to make it pliable, for it is pliable of itself. 
Along with the bed they brought two mattresses and 
pillows and a coverlet, all made of silk. Their cuAom 
is to put linen or cotton slips on the mattresses and 
coverlets, so that when they become dirty they wash 
the slips, while the bedding inside is kept clean. 
Next day we rode to the palace to salute the wazfr, 
who gave me two purses, each containing a thousand 
silver dinars, saying “ This is for washing your head,” 
and in addition gave me a robe of fine goathair. A 
li^f was made of all my companions, servants, and 
slave boys, and they were divided into four categories ; 
those in the firil category each received two hundred 
dinars, in the second a hundred and fifty, the third 
a hundred, and the fourth sixty-five. There were 
about forty of them, and the total sum given to them 
was four thousand odd dinars. After that the sultan's 
hospitality-gift was fixed. This was composed of a 
thousand pounds of Indian flour, a thousand pounds 
of flesh-meat, and I cannot say how many pounds of 
sugar, ghee, and areca-nuts, with a thousand betel 
leaves. The Indian pound equals twenty of our 
Moroccan pounds and twenty-five Egyptian pounds. 
Later on the sultan commanded some villages to be 
assigned to me to the yealrly revenue of five thousand 

On the 4th of Shawwal [8 th June 1334] the sultan 
returned to the cattle of Tilbat, seven miles from 
the capital, and the wazlr ordered us to go out 
to him. We set out, each man with his present of 
horses, camels, fruits, swords, etc., and assembled at 
the gate of the ca^e. The newcomers were intro- 
duced in order of precedence and were given robes 
of linen, embroidered in gold. When my turn came 
I entered and found the sultan seated on a chair. 
At fir^ I took him to be one of the chamberlains. 
When I had twice made obeisance the “ king ” of the 



Sultan’s intimate courtiers said “ Bismillah, MawMna 
Badr ad-Din,” for in India they used to call me Badr 
ad-Din, and Mawldnd [“ Our Mafter ”] is a title 
given to all scholars. I approached the sultan, who 
took my hand and shook it, and continuing to hold 
it addressed me mo^t affably in Persian, saying 
“ Your arrival is blessed; be at ease, I shall be com- 
passionate to you and give you such favours that your 
fellow-countrymen will hear of it and come to join 
you.” Then he asked me where I came from and I 
answered him, and every time he said any encouraging 
word to me I kissed his hand, until I had kissed it 
seven times. All the new arrivals then assembled and 
a meal was served to them. 

Afterw?irds the sultan used to summon us to eat 
in his presence and would enquire how we fared and 
address us moil affably. He assigned us pensions, 
giving me twelve thousand dinars a year, and added 
two villages to the thfee he had already commanded 
for me. One day he sent the wazfr and the governor 
of Sind to us to say, “ The Mailer of the World says 
‘ Whoever amongft you is capable of undertaking the 
fundlion of wazfr or secretary or commander or judge 
or professor or shaykh, I shall appoint to that office.’ ” 
Everyone was silent at firil, for what they were 
wanting was to gain riches and return to their coun- 
tries. After some of the others had spoken the wazfr 
said to me in Arabic “ What do you say ?” I replied 
“ Wazfrships and secretaryships are not my business, 
but as to qadfs and shaykhs, that is my occupation, 
and the occupation of my fathers before me.” The 
sultan was pleased with what I had said, and I was 
summoned to the palace to do homage on appoint- 
ment as qddf of the Malikite rite at Delhi. 

It happens often that there is a long delay in the 
payment of the money gifts of the sultan (though they 
are always paid in the end) and I waited six months 



before receiving the twelve thousand dinars promised 
to me. They have a cuilom also of deducting a 
tenth from all sums given by the sultan. Now, as 
I have related, I had borrowed from the merchants 
for the expenses of my journey and my present to the 
sultan, as well as for my residence at Delhi. When 
they prepared to return to their country, they impor- 
tuned me to pay my debts, so I wrote a long poem 
in praise of the sultan and presented it to him. He 
received it with pleasure, and I was congratulated by 
everyone. After waiting for some time I wrote a 
petition and transmitted it to the sultan, who ordered 
the wazir tor pay my debts. The wazfr delayed for 
some days, and meanwhile received orders to proceed 
to Dawlat Abad. During this time the sultan had 
gone out hunting; the wazir set off, and I received 
nothing at all until some time later. When my 
creditors were ready to travel I said to them “ When 
I go to the palace, claim your debt from me according 
to the cuftom in this country,” for I knew that when 
the sultan learned of that he would pay them. Their 
cu^om is this; the creditor awaits the debtor at the 
door of the palace, and when the debtor is on the 
point of entering he says to him “ O enemy of the 
sultan, by the head of the sultan you shall not enter 
until you have paid me.” The debtor may not leave 
the place after that until he pays him or obtains a 
delay from him. They did this, and the sultan sent 
a chamberlain to ask the merchants the amount of 
the debt. They replied *' Fifty-five thousand dinars.” 
The sultan then sent the chamberlain to say to them 
“ The Mafter of the World says to you ‘ The money 
is in my possession, and I shall give you justice; do 
not demand it of him.’ ” He then commanded two 
officers to sit in the Hall of the Thousand Columns 
to examine and verify the creditors’ documents. They 
found them in order and informed the sultan, who 



laughed and said “ I know he is a qddi and has seen 
to his business with them.” He then commanded 
the treasurer to pay the sum, but the treasurer greedily 
demanded a bribe for doing so and would not write 
the order. I sent him two hundred tangahs, but he 
returned them. One of his servants told me from 
him that he wanted five hundred tangahs and I refused 
to, pay it. The matter came to the ears of the sultan, 
who in great displeasure ordered payment to be sus- 
pended until the treasurer’s conduA was invefrigated. 

Later on, when the sultan went out to hunt, I went 
out along with him at once, as I had already prepared 
all that is required according to the habits of the 
Indians, and had hired bearers, grooms, valets, and 
runners. One day when the sultan was in his tent 
he enquired who were outside. Ndsir ad-Dfn, one 
of his courtiers, said “ So-and-so, the Moroccan, who 
is very upset.” “ Why so .?” asked the sultan, and 
he replied “ Because of his debt, since his creditors 
are pressing for payment. The Mafrer of the World 
had commanded the wazir to pay it, but he left before 
doing so. Would not the Ma^er of the World order 
the creditors to wait until the wazir returns or else 
give orders for their claims to be met ?” The “ king ” 
Dawlat-Sh4h, who was present, said “O Mafter of 
the World, every day this man talks to us in Arabic, 
and I do not know what he is saying. Do you know, 
Nisir ad-Din ?” He said this so that Ndsir ad-Dln 
might repeat what he had said. Ndsir ad-Din answered 
“ He talks about the debt which he has contrafted.” 
The sultan said “ When we return to the capital, go 
yourself to the treasury and give him this money.” 
The treasurer was present and said “ O Mailer of 
the World, he is very extravagant. I have seen him 
before in our own land, at the court of Sultan 
Tarmashirin.” Alter this the sultan invited me to 
his meal, I being in total ignorance of what had taken 

209 P 


place. As I went out Nasir ad-Din said *' Thank 
the king Dawlat-Shah,” and Dawlat-Shdh said to me 
*' Thank the treasurer.” The day after our return, I 
went to the palace, and presented to the sultan two 
camels with richly embroidered saddles and harness, 
along with eleven plates of sweetmeats. He ordered 
the sweetmeats to be taken into his private apartments 
and on retiring to them sent for me. After we had 
eaten he asked me the names of the sweetmeats which 
he had particularly enjoyed, and thereafter we took 
betel and withdrew. A few moments later the 
treasurer came to me and said “Send your friends 
to receive the money,” so I sent them, and on return- 
ing to my house after the sunset prayer found the 
money there in three sacks, containing the fifty-five 
thousand dinars which was the amount of my debt, 
together with the twelve thousand which the sultan 
had previously commanded to be paid to me, less 
one-tenth according to their cu^om. 

On the 9th of fir^t Jum^da Oftober 1341], 

the sultan left Delhi for Ma'bar [Coromandel] to 
fight with a rebel in that diftrift. I was all prepared 
to accompany him, but was commanded with some 
others to remain in Delhi, and the chamberlain took 
written acknowledgments of the order from us as 
a proof that we had received it. The sultan also 
commanded that I should take charge of the mauso- 
leum of Sultan Qutb ad-Di'n. He then sent for 
us to bid us farewell, and asked me if I had any 
requests. I took out a piece of paper with six peti- 
tions, but he said to me “ Speak with your tongue.” 
Amongst other things I said “ What shall I do about 
the mausoleum of Sultan Qutb ad-Din ? I have 
given appointments in conneftion with it to four 
hundred and sixty persons, and the income from its 
endowment does not cover their salaries and food.” 
He said to the wazir “ Fifty thousand ” and then 



added “ You muft have an anticipatory crop.” This 
means “ Give him a hundred thousand maunds of 
wheat and rice to be expended during this year, until 
the crops produced by the endowments come in.” 
I asked also that my house might be repaired. When 
I had been granted my requests, he said “ There is 
another recommendation, and that is that you incur 
no debts and so avoid being pressed for payment, for 
you will not find anyone to bring me news of them. 
Regulate your expenses according to what I have 
given you, as God has said [in the Koran] Keep not 
thy hand hound to thy neck, neither open it to fullest extent 
and again Eat and drink, and he not prodigal." I 
desired to kiss his foot, but he prevented me and 
held back my head with his hand, so I kissed that 
and retired. 

I returned to the capital and busied myself with 
repairing my house; on this I spent four thousand 
dinars, of which I received from the treasury six 
hundred and paid the reft myself. I also built a 
mosque opposite my house, and occupied myself 
with the dispositions for the mausoleum of Sultan 
Qutb ad-Din. The sultan had fixed the daily issue 
of food there at twelve maunds of flour and a like 
quantity of meat. I saw that this amount was too 
small, and that the produce which the sultan had 
put at my disposal was plentiful, and consequently 
I dispensed every day thirty-five maunds of flour and 
thirty-five of meat, together with proportionate quan- 
tities of sugar, candy, ghee and betel, not only to the 
salaried employees but also to visitors and travellers. 
The famine at that time was severe, but the popula- 
tion were relieved by this food, and the news of it 
spread far and wide. The “ King ” Sabih, having 
gone to join the sultan at Dawlat Abid, was asked by 
him for news of the doings of the people [in Delhi] 
and answered “ If there were in Delhi two such men 



as so-and-so there would be no complaints of famine.” 
The sultan was pleased at this and sent me a robe 
of honour from his own wardrobe. 

On setting out for Ma'bar [Coromandel] an epi- 
demic broke out in the sultan’s army, so he returned 
and built a camp near the river Ganges. I left Delhi 
and joined him there, and remained with him through 
the campaign against the rebel governor of Oudh. He 
gave me some thoroughbred horses when distributing 
them to his courtiers and included me in the number 
of the latter. I was present with him at the battle 
and capture of the rebel, and returned with him to 
Delhi. Afterwards I fell into disfavour with him 
because I had visited the shaykh Shihdb ad-Dfn in 
his cave outside Delhi.^® He had thoughts of punish- 
ing me and gave orders that four of his slaves should 
remain constantly beside me in the audience-hall. 
When this aftion is taken with anyone, it rarely happens 
that he escapes. I faSted five days on end, reading 
the Koran from cover to cover each day, and taSling 
nothing but water. After five days I broke my faSl 
and then continued to faSl for another four days on 
end, and was set free after the shaykh’s death, praise 
be to God. 

Some time later I withdrew from the sultan’s service 
and attached myself to the learned and pious imdm 
Kamdl ad-Din ** The Cave^ Mfan,” as I have already 
related. The sultan was in Sind at the time, and at 
hearing of my retreat from the world summoned me. 
I entered his presence dressed as a mendicant, and 
he spoke to me very kindly, desiring me to return to 
his service. I refused and asked him for permission 
to travel to Mecca, which he granted. This was at 
the end of second Jumdda 742 [early December 1341]. 

Forty days later the sultan sent me saddled horses, 
slave girls and boys, robes and a sum of money, so 
I put on the robes and went to him. I had a tunic 



of blue cotton which I wore during my retreat, and 
as I put it off and dressed in the sultan’s robes I 
upbraided myself. Ever after when I looked at that 
tunic I felt a light within me, and it remained in my 
possession until the infidels despoiled me of it on the 
sea. When I presented myself before the sultan, 
he showed me greater favour than before, and said to 
me “ I have sent for you to go as my ambassador 
to the king of China, for I know your love of travel.” 
He then provided me with everything I required and 
appointed certain other persons to accompany me, as 
I shall relate presently. 


The king of China had sent valuable gifts to the 
sultan, including a hundred slaves of both sexes, five 
hundred pieces of velvet and silk cloth, musk, jewelled 
garments and weapons, with a requeft that the sultan 
would permit him to rebuild the idol-temple which 
is near the mountains called Qarajil [Himalaya]. It 
is in a place known as Samhal, to which the Chinese 
go on pilgrimage; the Muslim army in India had 
captured it, laid it in ruins and sacked it.^ The 
sultan, on receiving this gift, wrote to the king saying 
that the requeft could not be granted by Islamic law, 
as permission to build a temple in the territories of 
the Muslims was granted only to those who paid a 
poll-tax; to which he added “ If thou wilt pay the 
jizya we shall empower thee to build it. And peace 
be on those who follow the True Guidance.” He 
requited his present with an even richer one — a 
hundred thoroughbred horses, a hundred white slaves, 
a hundred Hindu dancing- and singing-girls, twelve 
hundred pieces of various kinds of cloth, gold and 
silver candelabra and basins, brocade robes, caps, 
quivers, swords, gloves embroidered with pearls, and 
fifteen eunuchs. As my fellow-ambassadors the 
sultan appointed the amir Zahir ad-Din of Zanjdn, 
one of the moft eminent men of learning, and the 
eunuch Kafdr, the cup-bearer, into whose keeping 
the present was entrusted. He sent the amir 
Muhammad of Herat with a thousand horsemen to 
escort us to the port of embarkation, and we were 
accompanied by the Chinese ambassadors, fifteen in 



number, along with their servants, about a hundred 
men in all. 

We set out therefore in imposing force and formed 
a large camp. The sultan gave in^lruftions that we 
were to be supplied with provisions while we were 
travelling through his dominions. Our journey began 
on the 17th of Safar 743 [22nd July 1342]. That 
was the day seledled because they choose either the 
2nd, 7th, 1 2th, 17th, 22nd, or 27th of the month 
as the day for setting out. On the first day’s journey 
we halted at the po^l-^ation of Tilbat, seven miles 
from Delhi, and travelled thence through Bayana, a 
large and well-built town with a magnificent mosque, 
to Kiil [Koel, Aligarh], where we encamped in a wide 
plain outside the town. 

On reaching Koel we heard that certain Hindu 
infidels had invefted and surrounded the town of 
al-Jalah'.’-^ Now this town lies at a diftance of seven 
miles from Koel, so we made in that direftion. Mean- 
while the infidels were engaged in battle with its 
inhabitants and the latter were on the verge of destruc- 
tion. The infidels knew nothing of our approach 
until we charged down upon them, though they 
numbered about a thousand cavalry and three thousand 
foot, and we killed them to the laSl man and took 
possession of their horses and their weapons. Of our 
party twenty-three horsemen and fifty-five foot-soldiers 
suffered martyrdom, amongSl them the eunuch Kifdr, 
the cup-bearer, into whose hands the present had been 
entrusted. We informed the sultan by letter of his 
death and halted to await his reply. During that 
time the infidels used to swoop down from an inacces- 
sible hill which is in those parts and raid the environs 
of al-Jalalf, and our party used to ride out every day 
with the commander of that diSlridt to assiSl him in 
driving them off. 

On one of these occasions I rode out with several 



of my friends and we went into a garden to take our 
sie^a, for this was in the hot season. Then we heard 
some shouting, so we mounted our horses and over- 
took some infidels who had attacked one of the villages 
of al-Jal41f. When we pursued them they broke up 
into small parties; our troop in following them did 
the same, and I was isolated with five others. At 
this point we were attacked by a body of cavalry and 
foot-soldiers from a thicket thereabouts, and we fled 
from them because of their numbers. About ten of 
them pursued me, but afterwards. all but three of them 
gave up the chase. There was no road at all before 
me and the ground there was very ilony. My horse’s 
forefeet got caught between the Clones, so I dis- 
mounted, freed its foot and mounted again. It is 
cu^omary for a man in India to carry two swords, 
one, called the ^lirrup-sword, attached to the saddle, 
and the other in his quiver. My ftirrup-sword fell 
out of its scabbard, and as its ornaments were of gold 
I dismounted, picked it up, slung it on me and mounted, 
my pursuers chasing me all the while. After this I 
came to a deep nullah, so I dismounted and climbed 
down to the bottom of it, and that was the laft I saw 
of them. 

I came out of this into a valley amidft a patch of 
tangled wood, traversed by a road, so I walked along 
it, not knowing where it led to. At this junfture 
about forty of the infidels, carrying bows in their 
hands, came out upon me and surrounded me. I was 
afraid that they would all shoot at me at once if I 
fled from them, and I was wearing no armour, so I 
threw myself to the ground and surrendered, as they 
do not kill those who do that. They seized me and 
ftripped me of everything that I was carrying except 
a tunic, shirt and trousers, then they took me into 
that patch of jungle, and finally brought me to the part 
of it where they ftayed, near a tank of water situated 



among^ those trees. They gave me bread made of 
peas, and I ate some of it and drank some water. In 
their company there were two Muslims who spoke 
to me in Persian, and asked me all about myself. I 
told them part of my ftory, but concealed the faft 
that I had come from the Sultan. Then they said to 
me; “ You are sure to be put to death either by these 
men or by others, but this man here (pointing to one 
of them) is their leader." So I spoke to him, using 
the two Muslims as interpreters, and tried to con- 
ciliate him. He gave me in charge of three of the 
band, one of them an old man, with whom was his 
son, and the third an evil black fellow. These three 
spoke to me and I understood from them that they 
had received orders to kill me. In the evening of 
the same day they carried me off to a cave, but God 
sent an ague upon the black, so he put his feet upon 
me, and the old man and his son went to sleep. In 
the morning they talked among themselves and made 
signs to me to accompany them down to the tank. 
1 realized that they were going to kill me, so I spoke 
to the old man and tried to gain his favour, and he 
took pity on me. I cut off the sleeves of my shirt 
and gave them to him so that the other members of 
the band should not blame him on my account if I 

About noon we heard voices near the tank and they 
thought that it was their comrades, so they made 
signs to me to go down with them, but when we went 
down we found some other people. The newcomers 
advised my guards to accompany them but they refused, 
and the three of them sat down in front of me, keeping 
me facing them, and laid on the ground a hempen 
rope which they had with them. I was watching them 
all the time and saying to myself: “ It is with this 
rope that they will bind me when they kill me.” I 
remained thus for a time, then three of their party, 



the party that had captured me, came up and spoke 
to them and I understood that they said to them: 
“ Why have you not killed him ?” The old man 
pointed to the black, as though he were excusing 
himself on the ground of his illness. One of these 
three was a pleasant-looking youth, and he said to 
me : “ Do you wish me to set you at liberty ?” I said 
“ Yes,” and he answered “ Go.” So I took the tunic 
which I was wearing and gave it to him and he gave 
me a worn double-woven cloak which he had, and 
showed me the way. I went off but I was afraid leSl 
they should change their minds and overtake me, so 
I went into a reed thicket and hid there till sunset. 

Then I made my way out and followed the road 
which the youth had shewn me. This led to a stream 
from which I drank. I went on till near midnight 
and came to a hill under which I slept. In the 
morning I continued along the road, and sometime 
before noon reached a high rocky hill on which there 
were sweet lote-trees and zizyphus bushes. I started 
to pull and eat the lotus berries so eagerly that the 
thorns left scars on my arms that remain there to this 
day. Coming down from that hill I entered a plain 
sown with cotton and containing ca^lor-oil trees. 
Here there was a bd'in, which in their language means 
a very broad well with a ^lone casing and ^leps by 
which you go down to reach the water. Some of 
them have ^one pavilions, arcades, and seats in the 
centre and on the sides, and the kings and nobles of 
the country vie with one another in con^rudHng them 
along the highroads where there is no water. When 
I reached the bd'in I drank some water from it and I 
found on it some mustard shoots which had been 
dropped by their owner when he washed them. Some 
of these I ate and saved up the reil, then I lay down 
under a cailor-oil tree. While I was there about 
forty mailed horsemen came to the bd'in to get water 



and some of them entered the sown fields, then they 
went away, and God sealed their eyes that they did 
not see me. After them came about fifty others 
carrying arms and they too went down into the bd'in. 
One of them came up to a tree opposite the one I 
was under, yet he did not discover me. At this point 
I made my way into the field of cotton 'and flayed 
there the reft of the day, while they ftayed at the 
bd'in washing their clothes and whiling away the 
time. At night time their voices died away, so I 
knew that they had either passed on or fallen asleep. 
Thereupon I emerged and followed the track of the 
horses, for it was a moonlit night, continuing till I 
came to another bdin with a dome over it. I went 
down to it, drank some water, ate some of the muftard 
shoots which I had, and went into the dome. I 
found it full of grasses collefted by birds, so I went 
to sleep in it. Now and again I felt the movement 
of an animal amongft the grass; I suppose it was 
a snake, but I was too worn out to pay any attention 
to it. 

The next morning I went along a broad road, 
which led to a ruined village. Then I took another 
road, but with the same result as before. Se^^eral 
days passed in this manner. One day I came to 
some tangled trees with a tank of water between them. 
The space under these trees was like a room, and at 
the sides of the tank were plants like dittany and 
others. I intended to ftop there until God should 
send someone to bring me to inhabited country, but 
I recovered a little ftrength, so I arose and walked 
along a road on which I found the tracks of cattle. 
I found a bull carrying a packsaddle and a sickle, 
but after all this road led to the villages of the infidels. 
Then I followed up another road, and this brought 
me to a ruined village. There I saw two naked 
blacks, and in fear of them I remained under some 



trees there. At nightfall I entered the village and 
found a house in one of whose rooms there was some- 
thing like a large jar of the sort they make to ftore 
grain in. At the bottom of it there was a hole large 
enough to admit a man, so I crept into it and found 
inside it a layer of chopped Sraw, and among^ this 
a ^one on which I laid my head and went to sleep. 
On the top of the jar there was a bird which kept 
fluttering its wings moil of the night — I suppose it 
was frightened, so we made a pair of frightened 
creatures. This went on for seven days from the 
day on which I was taken prisoner, which was a 
Saturday. On the seventh day I came to a village 
of the unbelievers which was inhabited and possessed 
a tank of water and plots of vegetables. I asked them 
for some food but they refused to give me any. How- 
ever, in the neighbourhood of a well I found some 
radish leaves and ate them. I went into the village, 
and found a troop of infidels with sentries po^ed. 
The sentries challenged me but I did not answer them 
and sat down on the ground. One of them came over 
with a drawn sword and raised it to ilrike me, but 
I paid no attention to him, so utterly weary did I feel. 
Then he searched me but found nothing on me, so 
he took the shirt whose sleeves I had given to the 
old man who had had charge of me. 

On the eighth day I was consumed with thir^l and 
I had no water at all; I came to a ruined village but 
found no tank in it. They have a cuifom in those 
villages of making tanks in which the rain-water 
collefts, and this supplies them with drinking water 
all^ the year round. Then I went along a road and 
this brought me to an uncased well over which was 
a rope of vegetable fibre, but there was no vessel on 
it to draw water with. I took a piece of cloth which 
I had on my head and tied it to the rope and sucked 
the water that soaked into it, but that did not slake 



my thir^l. I tied on my shoe next and drew up water 
in it, but that did not satisfy me either, so I drew 
water with it a second time, but the rope broke and 
the shoe fell back into the well. I then tied on the 
other shoe and drank until my thir^l was assuaged. 
After that I cut the shoe and tied its uppers on my 
foot with the rope off the well and bits or cloth which 
I found there. While I was tying this on and wonder- 
ing what to do, a person appeared before me. I 
looked at him, and lo! it was a black-skinned man, 
carrying a jug and a ilafF in his hand, and a wallet on 
his shoulder. He gave me the Muslim greeting 
“ Peace be upon you ” and I replied “ Upon you be 
peace and the mercy and blessings of God.” Then 
he asked me in Persian who I was, and I answered 
“ A man aftray,” and he said : “ So am I.” Thereupon 
he tied his jug to a rope which he had with him and 
drew up some water. I wished to drink but he 
saying “ Have patience,” opened his wallet and brought 
out a handful of black chick-peas fried with a little 
rice. After I had eaten some of this and drunk, he 
made his ablutions and prayed two prostrations and I 
did the same. Thereupon he asked me my name. 
I answered “ Muhammad ” and asked him his, to 
which he replied “Joyous Heart” I took this as 
a good omen and rejoiced at it. After this he said 
to me “ In the name of God accompany me.” I said 
“ Yes,” and walked on with him for a little, then I 
found my limbs giving way, and as I was unable to 
Stand up I sat down. He said “ What is the matter 
with you ?” I answered “ I was able to walk before 
meeting you, but now that I have met you I cannot” 
Whereupon he said “ Glory be to God ! Mount on 
my shoulders.” I said to him “ You are weak, and 
have not Strength for that,” but he replied “ God will 
give me Strength. You muSt do so.” So I got up 
on his shoulders and he said to me “ Say God is sufficient 


for us and an excellent guardian" I repeated this over 
and over again, but I could not keep my eyes open, 
and regained consciousness only on feeling myself 
falling to the ground. Then I woke up, but found 
no trace of the man, and lo ! I was in an inhabited 
village. I entered it and found it was a village of 
Hindu peasants with a Muslim governor. They 
informed him about me and he came to meet me. 
I asked him the name of this village and he replied 
“ Tdj Bdra.” The distance from there to Koel, 
where our party was, is two farsakhs. The governor 
provided a horse to take me to his house and gave 
me hot food, and I washed. Then he said to me: 
“ I have here a garment and a turban which were 
left in my charge by a certain Arab from Egypt, one 
of the soldiers belonging to the corps at Koel." I 
said to him “ Bring them ; I shall wear them until I 
reach camp.” When he brought them I found that 
they were two of my own garments which I had given 
to that very Arab when we came to Koel. I was 
extremely a^onished at this, then I thought of the 
man who had carried me on his shoulders and I 
remembered what the saint Abil ‘Abdalldh al-Murshidi 
had told me, as I have related in the firft journey, 
when he said to me: “ You will enter the land of India 
and meet there my brother Dilshdd, who will deliver 
you from a misfortune which will befall you there.” 

I remembered too how he had said, when I asked 
him his name, “ Joyous Heart ” which, translated 
into Persian, is Dilshdd. So I knew that it was he 
whom the saint had foretold that I should meet, and 
that he too was one of the saints, but I enjoyed no 
more of his company than the short space which I 
have related. 

The same night I wrote to my friends at Koel to 
inform them of my safety, and they came, bringing 
me a horse and clothes and rejoiced at my escape. 



I found that the sultan’s reply had reached them and 
that he had sent a eunuch named Sunbul, the keeper 
of the wardrobe, in place of the martyred Kdfiir, with 
orders to pursue our journey. I found, too, that they 
had written to the sultan about me, and that they 
regarded the journey as ill-omened on account of 
what had happened to me and to Kafiir, and were 
wanting to go back. But when I saw that the sultan 
insifted upon the journey, I urged them on with great 
determination. They answered: “Do you not see 
what has befallen us at the very outset of this mission ? 
The sultan will excuse you, so let us return to him, 
or ^ay here until his reply reaches us.” But I said: 
“We cannot ^lay, and wherever we are his reply will 
overtake us.” 

We left Koel, therefore, and encamped at Burj 
Biira [Burjpur], where there is a fine hermitage in 
which lives a beautiful and virtuous shaykh called 
Muhammad the Naked, because he wears nothing 
but a cloth from his navel to the ground. Thence 
we travelled to the river known as Ai>-i Sty ah [“Black 
Water,” Kalindi] and from there reached the city of 
Qinawj [Kanauj]. It is a large, well-built and ftrongly 
fortified city, prices there are cheap and sugar plentiful, 
and it is surrounded by a great wall. We spent three 
days here and during this time received the sultan’s 
reply to the letter about me. It ran thus “ If no 
trace is found of so-and-so \i.e. Ibn Battdta], let 
Wajih al-Mulk, the qidi of Dawlat Abdd, go in his 
place.” We came next to the small town of Mawri, and 
thence reached Marh, a large town, inhabited chiefly 
by infidels under Muslim control.® It takes its name 
from the Mdlawa, a tribe of Hindus, of very powerful 
build and good-looking; their women especially are 
exceedingly beautiful and famous for the charms of 
their company. From Marh we travelled to ‘Aldbiir 
[Alapur], a small town inhabited like the former by 



infidels under Muslim control. A day’s journey from 
there lived an infidel sultan, named Qatam, who was 
sultan of Janbfl^ and was killed after besieging Guya- 
lyur [Gwalior]. The governor of ‘Aldbdr was the 
Abyssinian Badr, a slave of the sultan’s, a man whose 
bravery passed into a proverb. He was continually 
making raids on the infidels alone and single handed, 
killing and taking captive, so that his fame spread 
far and wide and the infidels went in fear of him. He 
was tall and corpulent, and used to eat a whole sheep 
at a meal, and I was told that after eating he would 
drink about a pound and a half of ghee, following 
the cuftom of the Abyssinians in their own country. 
He had a son nearly as brave as himself. During 
a raid on a village belonging to some Hindus Badr’s 
horse fell with him into a matamore and the villagers 
surrounded him and killed him. 

We journeyed thereafter to Gilyiir or Guydlyur 
[Gwalior], a large town with an impregnable fortress 
isolated on the summit of a lofty hill. Over its gate 
is an elephant with its mahout carved in ftone. The 
governor of this town was a man of upright charafler, 
and he treated me very honourably when I ftayed 
with him on a previous occasion. One day I came 
before him as he was about to have an infidel cut in 
two. I said to him “ By God I beseech you, do not 
do this, for I have never seen anyone put to death 
in my presence.” He ordered the man to be put in 
prison so my intervention was the means of his escape. 
From G^lyiir we went to Parwdn, a small town belong- 
ing to thC' Muslims, but situated in the land of the 
infidels. There are many tigers there, and one of the 
inhabitants told me that a certain tiger used to enter 
the town by night, although the gates were shut, and 
used to seize people. It killed quite a number of 
the townsfolk in this way. They used to wonder how 
it made its way in. Here is an amazing thing; a 



man told me that it was not a tiger who did this but 
a human being, one of the magicians known as JugU 
[Yogis], appearing in the shape of a tiger. When I 
heard this I refused to believe it, but a number of 
people said the same, so let us give at this point some 
account of these magicians. 

The men of this class do some marvellous things. 
One of them will spend months without eating or 
drinking, and many of them have holes dug for them 
in, the earth which are then built in on top of them, 
leaving only a space for air to enter. They ftay in 
these for months, and I heard tell of one of them who 
remained thus for a year. The people say that they 
make up pills, one of which they take for a given 
number of days or months, and during that time 
they require no food or drink. They can tell what is 
happening at a distance. The sultan holds them in 
efteem and admits them to his company. Some eat 
nothing but vegetables, and others, the majority, eat 
no meat; it is obvious that they have so disciplined 
themselves in ascetic praflices that they have no need 
of any of the goods or vanities of this world. There 
are among^ them some who merely look at a man 
and he falls dead on the spot. The common people 
say that if the breaft of a man killed in this way is 
cut open, it is found to contain no heart, and they 
assert that his heart has been eaten. This is com- 
monest in the case of women, and a woman who afts 
thus is called a kaftdr. During the famine in Delhi 
they brought one of these women to me, saying that 
she had eaten the heart of a boy, I ordered them to 
take her to the sultan’s lieutenant, who commanded 
that she shoTild be put to the teSl. They filled four 
jars with water, tied them to her hands and feet and 
threw her into the river Jumna. As she did not 
sink she was known to be a kaftdr \ had she not floated 
she would not have been one. He ordered her then 

225 Q 


to be burned in the fire. Her ashes were collefted 
by the men and women of the town, for they believe 
that anyone who fumigates himself with them is safe 
against a kaftdr's enchantments during that year. 

The sultan sent for me once when I was at Delhi, 
and on entering I found him in a private apartment 
with some of his intimates and two of these jugis. 
One of them squatted on the ground, then rose into 
the air above our heads, ^lill sitting. I was so 
a^onished and frightened that 1 fell to the floor in 
a faint. A potion was admini^ered to me, and I 
revived and sat up. Meantime this man remained 
in his sitting pofture. His companion then took a 
sandal from a bag he had with him, and beat it on the 
ground like one infuriated. The sandal rose in the 
air until it came above the neck of the sitting man and 
then began hitting him on the neck while he descended 
little by little until he sat down alongside us. Then 
the sultan said “ If I did not fear for your reason I 
would have ordered them to do ftill stranger things 
than this you have seen.” I took my leave, but was 
affedted with palpitation and fell ill, until he ordered 
me to be given a draught which removed it all. 

To return to our subjedl. We went from Parwin 
to Kajarrd,^ where there is a large tank about a mile 
long having on its banks temples with idols, which 
have been made examples of [i.e. mutilated] by the 
Muslims. Thence we journeyed through Chandiri 
to the town of Dhihdr [Dhar],® which is the chief 
city of MAlwa, the largest province in that diilrift. 
It is twenty-four days’ journey from Delhi, and all 
along the road between them there are pillars, on 
which is engraved the munber of miles from each 
pillar to the next. When the traveller desires to 
know now many miles he has gone that day and how 
far it is to his halting place or to the town he is making 
for, he reads the inscription on the pillars and so 



finds out. From Dhihdr we travelled to Ujayn 
[Ujjain], a fine and populous town, and thence to 
Dawlat Abad, the enormous city which rivals Delhi, 
the capital, in importance and in the spaciousness of 
its planning. It is divided into three seftions; one 
is Dawlat Ab4d proper, and is reserved for the sultan 
and his troops, the second is called Kataka, and the 
third is the citadel, which is unequalled for its strength 
and is called Duwaygir [Deogiri].’ 

At Dawlat Ab4d resides the great khdn Qutlii 
Khan, the sultan’s tutor, who is governor of the town, 
and the sultan’s representative there and in the lands 
of Sdghar, Tiling [Tclingana], and their dependent 
territories. This province extends for three months’ 
march, is well-populated, and wholly under his autho- 
rity and that or his lieutenants. The fortress of 
Duwaygir mentioned above is a rock situated in a 
plain; the rock has been excavated and a cattle built 
on its summit. It is reached by a ladder made of 
leather, which is taken up at night. In its dungeons 
are imprisoned those convifted of serious crime, and 
in these dungeons there are huge rats, bigger than 
cats — in faft, cats run away from them and cannot 
defend themselves againft them, so they can be cap- 
tured only by employing ruses. I saw them there 
and marvelled at them. The inhabitants of Dawlat 
Abid belong to the tribe of Marhata [Marathas], 
whose women God has endowed with special beauty, 
particularly in their noses and eyebrows. The infidels 
of this town are merchants, dealing principally in 
jewels, and their wealth is enormous. In Dawlat 
Abid there is an exceedingly fine and spacious bazaar 
for singers and singing-girls, containing numerous 
shops, each of which has a door leading to the house 
of its proprietor. The shop is beautified with 
carpets, and in the centre of it there is a sort of large 
cradle on which the singing-girl sits or reclines. She 



is adorned with all kinds of ornaments and her atten- 
dants swing her cradle. In the centre of the bazaar 
there is a large carpeted and decorated pavilion in 
which the chief musician sits every Thursday after 
the afternoon prayer, with his servants and slaves in 
front of him. The singing-girls come in relays and 
sing and dance before him till the sunset prayer, when 
they withdraw. In the same bazaar there are mosques 
for the prayer-services. One of the infidel rulers in 
India used, on passing through this bazaar, to alight 
at the pavilion and the singing-girls used to sing 
before him. One of the Muhammadan sultans used 
to do the same. 

We continued on our way to Nadhurbir [Nandur- 
bar], a small town inhabited by the Marhatas, who 
possess great skill in the arts and are physicians and 
aftrologers. The nobles of the Marhatas are Erahmans 
and Katris [Kshatriyas]. Their food consists of rice, 
vegetables, and oil of sesame, and they do not hold 
with giving pain to or slaughtering animals. They 
wash themselves thoroughly before eating and do not 
marry among their relatives, unless those who are 
cousins six times removed. Neither do they drink 
wine, for this in their eyes is the greater of vices. 
The Muslims in India take the same view, and any 
Muslim who drinks it is punished with eighty stripes, 
and shut up in a matamore for three months, which 
is opened only at the hours of meals. 

From this town we journeyed to Sighar [Songarh], 
which is a large town on a great river of the same 
name [Tapti]. Its inhabitants are upright, religious, 
^d truftworthy, and people go there to participate 
in the blessing they beftow, and because the town is 
exempt from taxes and dues. Thereafter we travelled 
to the town of Kinbdya [Cambay],® which is situated 
on an arm of the sea resembling a river; it is navigable 
for ships and its waters ebb and flow. I myself saw 



the ships there lying on the mud at ebb-tide and floating 
on the water at high tide. This city is one of the 
fineft there is in regard to the excellence of its con- 
ftruftion and the^ architedlure of its mosques. The 
reason is that the majority of its inhabitants are foreign 
merchants, who are always building fine mansions and 
magnificent mosques and vie with one another in 
doing so. We journeyed from this town to Kiwa,® 
which is on a tidal bay also, and is in the territories 
of the infidel raja Jalansi, of whom we shall speak 
later. Thence we went to Qandahdr, a large town 
belonging to the infidels and situated on a bay. 
The sultan of Qandahir is an infidel called Jalansi, 
who is under Muslim suzerainty and sends a gift 
to the king of India every year.^® When we reached 
Qandahar he came out to welcome us and showed us 
the greatest honour, himself leaving his palace and 
installing us in it. The principal Muslims at his 
court came to visit us, such as the children of the 
Khwdja Bohra. One of these is the shipowner Ibrihim, 
who possesses six vessels of his own. 

At Qandahar we embarked on a ship belonging 
to this Ibrdhfm, called al-Jdgir. On this ship we put 
seventy of the horses of the sultan’s present, and the 
reft we put with the horses of our companions on a 
ship belonging to Ibrdhim’s brother, called Manurt. 
Jalansi gave us a vessel on which we put the horses 
of Zahir ad-Din and Sunbul and their party, and he 
equipped it for us with water, provisions and forage. 
He sent his son with us on a ship called al-Uqayri^ 
which resembles a galley, but is rather broader; it 
has sixty oars and is covered with a roof during batde 
in order to proteft the rowers from arrows and flones. 
I myself went on board al-Jdgir, which had a com- 
plement of fifty rowers and fifty Abyssinian men-at- 
arms. These latter are the guarantors of safety on 
the Indian Ocean; let there be but one of them on 



a ship and it will be avoided by the Indian pirates and 
idolaters. Two days later we called at the island of 
Bayram,^^ and on the following day reached the town 
of Qiiqa [Gogo, in Kathiawar], a large town with 
important bazaars. We anchored four miles from 
shore on account of the low tide, but I went on shore 
in a small boat with some of my companions. The 
sultan of Qdqa is a heathen called Dunqiil, who used 
to profess submission to the king of India but was in 
reality a rebel. On setting sail from this town we 
arrived after three days at the island of Sandabdr 
[Goa],“ on which there are thirty-six villages. It is 
surrounded by a gulf, the waters of which are sweet and 
agreeable at low tide but salt and bitter at high tide. 
In the centre of the island are two cities, an ancient 
one built by the infidels, and one built by the Muslims 
when they firft captured the island. We passed by 
this island and anchored at a smaller one near the main- 
land. Next day we reached the town of Hinawr 
[Honavar, Onore], which is on a large inlet navigable 
for large ships. During the pushkdl^ which is the rainy 
season, this bay is so ftormy that for four months it 
is impossible to sail on it except for fishing. The 
women of this town and all the coa^al diilridls wear 
nothing but loose unsewn garments, one end of which 
they gird round their waifts, and drape the re^l over 
their head and shoulders. They are beautiful and 
virtuous, and each wears a gold ring in her nose. 
One peculiarity among^l them is that they all know 
the Koran by heart. I saw in the town thirteen 
schools for girls and twenty-three for boys, a thing 
which I have never seen elsewhere. Its inhabitants 
live by maritime commerce, and have no cultivated 
land. The ruler of Hinawr is Sultan Jaldl ad-Dfn, 
who is one of the beA and mo^ powerful sultans. 
He is under the suzerainty of an infidel sultan named 
Haryab, of whom we shall speak later. The people 



of Mulaybir [Malabar] pay a fixed sum annually to 
Sultan Jalil ad-Din, through fear of his sea-power. 
His army is composed of about six thousand men, 
horse and foot. On another occasion I flayed for 
eleven months at his court without ever eating bread, 
for their sole food is rice. I lived also in the Maidive 
Islands, Ceylon, and on the Coromandel and Malabar 
coafts for three years eating nothing but rice, until I 
could not swallow it except by taking water with it. 
On this occasion we ftayed with the sultan of Hinawr 
for three days; he supplied us with provisions, and we 
left him to continue our journey. 

Three days later we reached the land of Mulaybar 
[Malabar], which is the pepper country. It extends 
for two months’ journey along the coaft from Sandabdr 
[Goa] to Kawlam [Quilon, in Travancore]. The road 
• over the whole diftance runs beneath the shade of 
trees, and at every half-mile there is a wooden shed 
with benches on which all travellers, whether Muslims 
or infidels, may sit. At each shed there is a well for 
drinking and an infidel who is in charge of it. If 
the traveller is an infidel he gives him water in vessels ; 
if he is a Muslim he pours the water into his hands, 
continuing to do so until he signs to him to ftop. It 
is the cullom of the infidels in the Mulaybdr lands 
that no Muslim may enter their houses or eat from 
their vessels; if he does so they break the vessels or 
give them to the Muslims. In places where there are 
no Muslim inhabitants they give him food on banana 
leaves. At all the halting-places on this road there 
are houses belonging to Muslims, at which Muslim 
travellers alight, and where they buy all that they 
need. Were it not for them no Muslim could travel 
by it. 

On this road, which, as we hav? said, extends for 
a two months’ march, there is not a foot of ground 
but is cultivated. Every man has his own orchard, 



with his house in the middle and a wooden palisade 
all round it. The road runs through the orchards, 
and when it comes to a palisade there are wooden 
fteps to go up by and another flight of fteps down into 
the next orchard. No one travels on a animal in that 
country, and only the sultan possesses horses. The 
principal vehicle of the inhabitants is a palanquin 
carried on the shoulders of slaves or hired porters; 
those who do not travel on palanquins go on root, be 
they who they may. Baggage and merchandise is 
transported by hired carriers, and a single merchant 
may have a' hundred such or thereabouts carrying his 
goods. I have never seen a safer road than this, for 
they put to death anyone who ^eals a single nut, and 
if any fruit falls no one picks it up but the owner. 
Indeed we sometimes met infidels during the night 
on this road, and when they saw us they ^tood aside 
to let us pass. Muslims are mo^ highly honoured 
amongst them, except that, as we have. said, they do 
not eat with them nor allow them into their houses. In 
the Mulaybir lands there are twelve infidel sultans, 
some of them strong with armies numbering fifty 
thousand men, and others weak with armies of three 
thousand. Yet there is no discord whatever between 
them, and the ^rong does not desire to seize the 
possessions of the weak. At the boundary of the 
territories of each ruler there is a wooden gateway, 
on which is engraved the name of the ruler whose 
territories begin at that point. This is called the 
“ Gate of Security ” of such-and-such a prince. If 
any Muslim or infidel criminal flees from the terri- 
tories of one and reaches the Gate of Security of 
another, his life is safe, and the prince from whom he 
has fled cannot seize him, even though he be a powerful 
prince with a great army. The rulers in these lands 
transmit their sovereignty to their sixers’ sons, to 
the exclusion of their own children. I have seen this 



praftice nowhere else except among the veiled Massiifa, 
who will be mentioned later. 

The fir^l town in the land of Mulaybir that we 
entered was the town of Abii-Sarur [Barcelore], a 
small place on a large inlet and abounding in coco- 
palms. Two days’ journey brought us to Fakaniir 
[Bacanor, now Barkur],^® a large town on an inlet; 
here there is a large quantity of sugar-canes, which 
arc unexcelled in the reft of that country. The chief 
of the Muslim community at Fakaniir is called 
Basadaw. He possesses about thirty warships, com- 
manded by a Muslim called Liila, who is an evildoer 
and a pirate and a robber of merchants. When we 
anchored, the sultan sent his son to us to ftay on board 
the ship as a hoftage. We went on shore to visit 
him and he treated us with the utmoft hospitality for 
three nights, as a mark of respeft for the sultan of 
India and also from a desire to make some profit by 
trading with the personnel of our vessels. It is a 
cuftom of theirs that every ship that passes by a town 
muft needs anchor at it and give a present to the ruler. 
This they call the “ right of bandar^' If anyone 
omits to do this, they sail out in pursuit of him, bring 
him into the port by force, double the tax on him, 
and prevent him from proceeding on his journey for 
as long as they wish. Three days after leaving 
Fikandr we reached Manjariir [Mangalore], a large 
town on the inlet called ad-Dumb, which is the largeft 
inlet in the land of Mulaybir. This is the town at 
which moft of the merchants from Fars and Yemen 
disembark, and pepper and ginger are exceedingly 
abundant there. The sultan of Manjariir is one of 
the principal rulers in that land, and his name is Rdma 
Daw. There is a colony of about four thousand 
Muslims there, living in a suburb alongside the town. 
Conflifts frequently break out between them and the 
townspeople, but the sultan makes peace between them 



on account of his need of the merchants. We refused 
to land until the sultan sent his son, as the previous 
sultan had done. When he had done so, we went 
on shore and were treated with great consideration. 

After laying at Manjariir for three days, we set 
sail for the town of Hili,^^ which we reached two days 
later. It is large and well-built, situated on a big 
inlet which is navigable for large vessels. This is the 
farthest town reached by ships from China; they enter 
only this port, the port of Kawlam, and Cdliciit. The 
town of Hill is venerated by both Muslims and in- 
fidels on account of its cathedral mosque, and sea- 
farers make many votive offerings to it. This mosque 
contains a number of students, who receive ftipends 
from its revenues, and it has a kitchen from which 
travellers and the Muslim poor are supplied with 
food. Thence we sailed to Jurfattan [Cannanore], 
Dahfattan, and Budfattan; the sultan of these towns 
is called Kuwayl, and is one of the moil powerful 
sultans of Mulaybdr. At Dahfattan there is a great 
b£in and a cathedral mosque, which were built by 
Kuwayl’s grandfather, who was converted to Isldm. 
Moil of the inhabitants of Budfattan are Brahmans, 
who are venerated by the infidels and who hate the 
Muslims; for this reason there are no Muslims living 
amongil them. From Budfattan we sailed to Fanda- 
raynd [Panderani], a large and fine town with orchards 
and bazaars. The Muslims occupy three quarters in 
it, each of which has a mosque. It is at this town that 
the Chinese vessels pass the winter. Thence we 
travelled to the city of Qdliqiit [Calicut], which is 
one of the chief ports in Mulaybdr and one of the 
largeil harbours in the world. It is visited by men 
from China, Sumatra, Ceylon, the Maldives, Yemen 
and Fdrs, and in it gather merchants from all quarters.^ 

The sultan of Cdlicdt is an infidel, known as “ the 
Sdmarf.” He is an aged man and shaves his beard, 



as some of the Greeks do. In this town too lives 
the famous shipowner Mithqal, who possesses va^t 
wealth and many ships for his trade with India, China, 
Yemen, and Pars. When we reached the city, the 
principal inhabitants and merchants and the sultan’s 
representative came out to welcome us, with drums, 
trumpets, bugles and standards on their ships. We 
entered the harbour in great pomp, the like of which 
I have never seen in those lands, but it was a joy to 
be followed by distress. We topped in the port of 
Calicdt, in which there were at the time thirteen 
Chinese vessels, and disembarked. Every one of us 
was lodged in a house and we ftayed there three months 
as the guefts of the infidel, awaiting the season of the 
voyage to China. On the Sea of China travelling is 
done in Chinese ships only, so we shall describe their 

The Chinese vessels are of three kinds; large ships 
called chunks, middle-sized ones called zaws phows], 
and small ones called kakams. The large ships have 
anything from twelve down to three sails, which are 
made of bamboo rods plaited like mats. They are 
never lowered, but turned according to the direftion 
of the wind; at anchor they are left floating in the 
wind. A ship carries a complement of a thousand 
men, six hundred of whom are sailors and four hundred 
men-at-arms, including archers, men with shields and 
arbalifts, who throw naphtha. Each large vessel is 
accompanied by three smaller ones, the “ half,” the 
“ third,” and the “ quarter.”^® These vessels are 
built only in the towns of Zaytfin and Sfn-Kaldn 
[Canton]. The vessel has four decks and contains 
rooms, cabins, and saloons for merchants; a cabin 
has chambers and a lavatory, and can be locked by 
its occupant, who takes along with him slave girls 
and wives. Often a man will live in his cabin unknown 
to any of the others on board until they meet on 



reaching some town. The sailors have their children 
living on board ship, and they cultivate green fluff's, 
vegetables and ginger in wooden tanks. The owner’s 
faftor on board ship is like a great amir. When he 
goes on shore he is preceded by archers and Abys- 
sinians with javelins, swords, drums, trumpets and 
bugles. On reaching the house where he flays they 
fland their lances on both sides of the door, and 
continue thus during his flay. Some of the Chinese 
own large numbers of ships on which their faflors 
are sent to foreign countries. There is no people in 
the world wealthier than the Chinese. 

When the time came for the voyage to China, the 
sultan Sdmari equipped for us one of the thirteen 
junks in the port of Cdlicdt. The fadlor on the junk 
was called Sulaymdn of Safad, in Syria [Palefline]. 
I had previously made his acquaintance, and I said to 
him “ I want a cabin to myself because of the slave- 
girls, for it is my habit never to travel without them.” 
He replied “ The merchants from China have taken 
the cabins for the forward and return journey. My 
son-in-law has a cabin which I can give you, but it 
has no lavatory; perhaps you may be able to exchange 
it for another.” So I told my companions to take on 
board all my effefts, and the male and female slaves 
embarked on the junk. This was on a Thursday, 
and I flayed on shore in order to attend the Friday 
prayers and join them afterwards. The king Sunbul 
and Zahir ad-Din also went on board with the present. 
On the Friday morning a slave boy of mine named 
Hildl caine to me and said that the cabin we had taken 
on the junk was small and unsuitable. When I 
spoke of this to the captain he said “ It cannot be 
helped, but if you like to transfer to the kakam there 
are cabins on it at your choice.” I agreed to this 
and gave orders accordingly to my companions, who 
transferred the slave girls and effefls to the kakam 



and were established in it before the hour of the 
Friday prayer. Now it is usual for this sea to become 
stormy every day in the late afternoon, and no one 
can embark then. The junks had already set sail, 
and none of them were left but the one which con- 
tained the present, another junk whose owner had 
decided to pass the winter at Fandarayna, and the 
kakam referred to. We spent the Friday night on 
shore, we unable to embark on it, and those on board 
unable to disembark and join us. I had nothing left 
with me but a carpet to sleep on. On the Saturday 
morning the junk and kakam were both at a distance 
from the port, and the junk which was to have made 
for Fandarayni was driven ashore and broken in 
pieces. Some of those who were on board were 
drowned and some escaped. That night the same 
fate met the junk which carried the sultan’s present, 
and all on board were drowned. Next morning we 
found the bodies of Sunbul and Zahir ad-Dm, and 
having prayed over them buried them. I saw the 
infidel, the sultan of Cilicdt, wearing a large white 
cloth round his waiSl and a small turban, bare-footed, 
with the parasol carried by a slave over his head and 
a fire lit in front of him on the beach; his police officers 
were beating the people to prevent them from plunder- 
ing what the sea caSl up. In all the lands of MulaybAr, 
except in this one land alone, it is the cuSlom that when- 
ever a ship is wrecked all that is taken from it belongs 
to the treasury. At Cdliclit however it is retained 
by its owners and for that reason Cdlicdt has become 
a flourishing city and attrafts large numbers of mer- 
chants. When those on the kakam saw what had 
happened to the junk they spread their sails and went 
off, with all my goods and slave-boys and slave-girls 
on board, leaving me alone on the beach with but 
one slave whom I had enfranchised. When he saw 
what had befallen me he deserted me, and I had 


nothing left with me at all except ten dinars and the 
carpet I had slept on. 

As I was told that the kakam woiold have to put 
in at Kawlam, I decided to travel thither, it being a 
ten days’ journey either by land or by the river,” if 
anyone prefers that route. I set out therefore by the 
river, and hired one of the Muslims to carry the carpet 
for me. Their cuftom is to disembark in the evening 
and pass the night in the village on its banks, returning 
to the boat in the morning. We did this too. There 
was no Muslim on the boat except the man I had 
hired, and he used to drink wine with the infidels 
when we went ashore and annoy me with his brawling, 
which made things all the worse for me. On the fifth 
day of our journey we came to Kunjd-Kari which is 
on the top of a hill there; it is inhabited by Jews, who 
have one of their own number as their governor, and 
pay a polltax to the sultan of Kawlam. All the trees 
along this river are cinnamon and brazil trees. They 
use them for firewood in those parts and we used to 
light fires with them to cook our food on this journey. 
On the tenth day we reached the city of Kawlam 
[Quilon], one of the fineil towns in the Mulaybdr 
lands. “ It has fine bazaars, and its merchants are 
called Siilis. They are immensely wealthy; a single 
merchant will buy a vessel with all that is in it and 
load it with goods from his own house. There is a 
colony of Muslim merchants; the cathedral mosque is 
a magnificent building, con^rufted by the merchant 
Khwija Muhazzab. This city is the neared of the 
Mulaybar towns to China and it is to it that moft 
of the merchants [from China] come. Muslims are 
honoured and respefted in it. The sultan of Kawlam 
is an infidel called the Tfrawari; he respedls the 
Muslims and has severe laws again^ thieves and 
profligates. I ftayed some time at Kawlam in a 
hospice, but heard no news of the kakam. During my 



^lay the ambassadors from the king of China who had 
been with us arrived there also. They had embarked on 
one of the junks which was wrecked like the others. 
The Chinese merchants provided them with clothes and 
they returned to China, where I met them again later. 

I intended at fir^t to return from Kawlam to the 
sultan to tell him what had happened to the present, 
but afterwards I was afraid that he would find fault 
with what I had done and ask me why I had not flayed 
with the present. I determined therefore to return 
to Sultan Jamil ad-Din of Hinawr and ilay with him 
until I should obtain news of the kakam. So I went 
back to Cilicdt and found there a vessel belonging 
to the sultan [of India], on which I embarked. It 
was then the end of the season for voyaging, and we 
used to sail only during the first half of the day, then 
anchor until the next day. We met four fighting 
vessels on our way and were afraid of them, but after 
all they did us no harm. On reaching Hinawr, I 
went to the sultan and saluted him; he assigned me 
a lodging, but without a servant, and asked me to 
recite the prayers with him. I spent moft of my time 
in the mosque “ and used to read the Koran through 
every day, and later twice a day. 

Smtan Jamal ad-Din had fitted out fifty-two vessels 
for an expedition to Sandabtlr [Goa]. A quarrel had 
broken out there between the sultan and his son, and 
the latter had written to JamSl ad-Dm inviting him 
to seize the town and promising to accept Islim and 
marry his daughter. When the ships were made 
ready I thought of setting out with them to the Holy 
War, so I opened the Koran to take an augury, and 
foiuid at the top of the page In them is the name of God 
frequently mentioned^ and verily God will aid those who 
aid Him. I took this as a good omen, and when 
the sultan came for the afternoon prayer I said to 
him “ I wish to join the expedition.” “ In that case ” 



he replied “ you will be their commander.” I related 
to him the incident of my augury from the Koran, 
which so delighted him that he resolved to join the 
expedition himself, though previously he had not 
intended to do so. He embarked on one of the vessels, 
I being with him, on a Saturday, and we reached 
Sandabdr on the Monday evening. The inhabitants 
were prepared for the battle and had set up mangonels, 
which they discharged against the vessels when they 
advanced in the morning. Those on the ships jumped 
into the water, shields and swords in hand, and I 
jumped with them, and God granted the viftory to 
the Muslims. We entered the city at the point of 
the sword and the greater part of the infidels fled into 
their sultan’s palace, but when we threw fire into it 
they came out and we seized them. The sultan 
thereafter set them free and returned their wives and 
children to them. They numbered about ten thousand, 
and he assigned to them one of the suburbs 
of the city and himself occupied the palace, giving 
the neighbouring houses to his courtiers. 

When I had llayed with him at Sandabiir for three 
months after the conqueft of the town, I asked him 
for permission to travel and he made me promise to 
return to him. So I sailed to Hinawr and thence by 
Manjarfir and the other towns as before to Cdliciit. 

I went on from there to ash-Shdliydt, a modi beautiful 
town, in which the fabrics called by its name are 
manufa6lured.“ After a long dlay in this town I 
returned to Cdliciit. Two slaves of mine who had 
been on the kakam arrived at Cdlicfit and told me 
that the ruler of Sumatra had taken my slave-girls, 
that my goods had been seized by various hands, and 
that my wmpanions were scattered to China, Sumatra 
and Ben^l. On hearing this I returned to Hinawr 
and Sandabiir, reaching it after an absence of five 
months, .and dlayed there two months. 



The infidel sultan of Sandabiir, from whom we had 
captured the town, now advanced to recapture it. All 
the infidels fled to join him, and our troops who were 
quartered in the [outlying] villages, abandoned us. 
We were besieged by the infidels and reduced to great 
straits. When the situation became serious, I left 
the town during the siege and returned to Cilicilt, 
where I decided to travel to Dhibat al-Mahal [MaldiVe 
islands], about which I had heard a number of tales. 
Ten days after embarking at Cilicdt we reached these 
islands, which are one of the wonders of the world 
and number about two thousand in all.^ Each 
hundred or less of them form a circular duller resem- 
bling a ring, this ring having one entrance like a 
gateway, and only through this entrance can ships 
reach the islands. When a vessel arrives at any one 
of them it mu^ needs take one of the inhabitants to 
pilot it to the other islands. They are so close-set 
that on leaving one island the tops of the palms on 
another are visible. If a ship loses its course it is 
unable to enter and is carried by the wind to the 
Coromandel coaft or Ceylon. 

The inhabitants of the Maldives are all Muslims, 
pious and uprig t. The islands are divided into 
twelve diilrifts, each under a governor whom they call 
the Kardui. The di^trift of Mahal, which has given 
its name to the whole archipelago, is the residence of 
their sultans. There is no agriculture at all on any 
of the islands, except that a cereal resembling millet 
is grown in one di^riff and carried thence to Mahal. 

241 R 


The inhabitants live on a fish called qulb-al-mds, which 
has red fiesh and no grease and smells like mutton. 
On catching it they cut it in four, cook it lightly, 
then smoke it in palm leaf baskets.® When it is 
quite dry, they eat it. Some of these fish are exported 
to India, China, and Yemen. Moil of the trees on 
those islands are coco-palms, which with the fish 
mentioned above provide food for the inhabitants. 
The coco-palm is an extraordinary tree; it bears twelve 
bunches a year, one in each month. Some are small, 
some large, some dry and some green, never changing. 
They make milk, oil, and honey from it, as we have 
already related [p. 115]. 

The people or the Maidive Islands are upright and 
pious, sound in belief and sincere in thought; their 
bodies are weak, they are unused to fighting, and their 
armour is prayer. Once when I ordered a thief’s 
hand to be cut off, a number of those in the room 
fainted. The Indian pirates do not raid or moleil 
them, as they have learned from experience that any- 
one who seizes anything from them speedily meets 
misfortune. In each island of theirs there are beauti- 
ful mosques, and moil of their buildings are made of 
wood. They are very cleanly and avoid filth; moil 
of them bathe twice a day to cleanse themselves, 
because of the extreme heat there and their profuse 
perspiration. They make plentiful use of perfumed 
oils, such as oil of sandal-wood. Their garments are 
simply aprons; one they tie round their waiils in place 
of trousers, and on their backs they place other cloths 
resembling the pilgrim garments. Some wear a 
turban, others a small kerchief inilead. When any 
of them meets the qadi or preacher, he removes his 
cloth from his shoulders, uncovering his back, and 
accompanies him thus to his house. All, high or 
low, are bare-footed; their lanes are kept swept and 
clean and are shaded by trees, so that to walk in them 



is like walking in an orchard. In spite of that every 
person entering a house mu^ wash his feet with water 
from ajar kept in a chamber in the veilibule, and wipe 
them with a rough towel of palm matting which he 
finds there. The same praftice is followed on entering 
a mosque. 

From these islands there are exported the fish we 
have mentioned, coconuts, cloths, and cotton turbans, 
as well as brass utensils, of which they have a great 
man y, cowrie shells, and qanhar. This is the hairy 
integument of the coconut, which they tan in pits on 
the shore, and afterwards beat out with bars; the 
women then spin it and it is made into cords for 
sewing [the planks of] ships together. These cords 
are exported to India, China, and Yemen, and are 
better than hemp. The Indian and Yemenite ships 
are sewn together with them, for the Indian Ocean 
is full of reefs, and if a ship is nailed with iron nails 
it breaks up on striking the rocks, whereas if it is 
sewn together with cords, it is given a certain resilience 
and does not fall to pieces. The inhabitants of these 
islands use cowrie shells as money. This is an animal 
which they gather in the sea and place in pits, where 
its flesh disappears, leaving its white shell. They are 
used for buying and selling at the rate of four hundred 
thousand shells for a gold dinar, but they often fall 
in value to twelve hundred thousand for a dinar. 
They sell them in exchange for rice to the people of 
Bengal, who also use them as money, as well as to the 
Yemenites, who use them instead of sand [as ballaft] 
in their ships. These shells are used also by the 
negroes in their lands; I saw them being sold at 
Mdlli and Gawgaw [see Ch. XIV.] at the rate of 
1,150 for a gold dinar. 

Their womenfolk do not cover their hands, not 
even their queen does so, and they comb their hair 
and gather it at one side. Modi of them wear only 



an apron from their waists to the ground, the reft of 
their bodies being uncovered. When I held the 
qidfship there, I tried to put an end to this praftice 
and ordered them to wear clothes, but I met with no 
success. No woman was admitted to my presence in 
a lawsuit unless her body was covered, but apart from 
that I was unable to effeft anything. I had some 
slave-girls who wore garments like those worn at 
Delhi and who covered their heads, but it was more 
of a disfigurement than an ornament in their case, 
since they were not accuftomed to it. A singular 
cuftom amongft them is to hire themselves out as 
servants in houses at a fixed wage of five dinars or less, 
their employer being responsible for their upkeep; 
they do not look upon this as dishonourable, and 
moft of their girls do so. You will find ten or twenty 
of them in a rich man’s house. Every utensil that a 
girl breaks is charged up againft her. When she 
wishes to transfer from one house to another, her new 
employers give her the sum which she owes to her 
former employers; she pays this to the latter and 
remains so much in debt to her new employers. The 
chief occupation of these hired women is spinning 
qanhar. It is easy to get married in these islands on 
account of the smallness of the dowries and the pleasure 
of their women’s society. When ships arrive, the 
crew marry wives, and when they are about to sail 
they divorce them.’ It is really a sort of temporary 
marriage. The women never leave their country. 

It is a ftxange thing about these islands that their 
ruler is a woman, Khadija. The sovereignty belonged 
to her grandfather, then to her father, and after his 
death to her brother Shihdb ad-Din, who was a minor. 
When he was deposed and put to death some years 
later, none of the royal house remained but Khadija 
and her two younger sifters, so they raised Khadija to 
the throne. She was married to their preacher, Jamil 



ad-Din, who became Wazir and the real holder 
of authority, but orders are issued in her name only. 
They write the orders on palm leaves with a curved 
iron instrument resembling a knife ; they write nothing 
on paper but copies of the Koran and works on theology. 
When a Stranger comes to the islands and visits the 
audience-hall cuStom demands that he take two pieces 
of cloth with him. He makes obeisance towards the 
Sultana and throws down one of these cloths, then to 
her Wazir, who is her husband Jamal ad-Din, and 
throws down the other. Her army comprises about 
a thousand men, recruited from abroad, though some 
are natives. They come to the palace every day, 
make obeisance, and retire, and they are paid in rice 
monthly. At the end of each month they come to 
the palace, make obeisance, and say to the Wazir 
“ Transmit our homage and make it known that we 
have come for our pay,” whereupon orders are given 
for it to be issued to them. The qadi and the officials, 
whom they call wazirs, also present their homage daily 
at the palace and after the eunuchs have transmitted 
it they withdraw. The qadl is held in greater respeft 
among the people than all the other fundfionaries; his 
orders are obeyed as implicitly as those of the ruler 
or even more so. He sits on a carpet in the palace, 
and enjoys the entire revenue of three islands, accord- 
ing to ancient cu^om. There is no prison in these 
islands; criminals are confined in wooden chambers 
intended for merchandise. Each of them is secured 
by a piece of wood, as is done amongSl us [in Morocco] 
with Chri^lian prisoners. 

When I arrived at these islands I disembarked on 
one of them called Kannalds, a fine island containing 
many mosques, and I put up at the house of one of 
the pious persons there. On this island I met a man 
called Muhammad, belonging to Dhafdr, who told 
me that if I entered the island of Mahal the Wazfr 



would detain me there, because they had no qidi. 
Now my design was to sail from there to Ma'bar 
[Coromandel], Ceylon, and Bengal, and thence on 
to China. When I had spent a fortnight at Kannaltis, 
I set sail again with my companions, and having 
visited on our way several other islands, at which we 
were received with honour and hospitably entertained, 
arrived on the tenth day at the island of Mahal, the 
seat of the Sultana and her husband, and anchored in 
its harbour. The custom of the country is that no 
one may go ashore without permission. When per- 
mission was given to us I wished to repair to one of 
the mosques, but the attendants on shore prevented 
me, saying that it was imperative that I should visit 
the Wazir. I had previously enjoined the captain of 
the ship to say, if he were asked about me, “ I do not 
know him,” fearing that I should be detained by them, 
and ignorant of the fa£l that some busybody had 
written to them telling them about me and that I 
had been qddi at Delhi. On reaching the palace we 
halted in some porticoes by the third gateway. The 
qidi Tsa of Yemen came up and greeted me and I 
greeted the Wazir. The captain brought ten pieces 
of cloth and made obeisance towards the Sultana, 
throwing down one piece, then to the Wazir, throwing 
down another in the same way. When he had thrown 
them all down he was asked about me and answered 
“ I do not know him.” Afterwards they brought out 
betel and rose-water to us, this being their mark of 
honour, and lodged us in a house, where they sent 
us food, consisting of a large platter of rice surrounded 
by plates containing salted meat, chickens, ghee, and 
fish. Two days later the Wazir sent me a robe, with 
a hospitality-gift of food and a hundred thousand 
cowries for my expenses. 

When ten days had passed a ship arrived from Ceylon 
bringing some darwishes, Arabs and Persians, who 



recognized me and told the Wazir’s attendants who 
I was. This made him ilill more delighted to have 
me, and at the beginning of Ramadin he sent for me 
to join in a banquet attended by the amirs and minivers. 
Later on I asked his permission to give a banquet to 
the darwishes who had come from visiting the Foot 
[of Adam, in Ceylon]. He gave permission, and sent 
me five sheep, which are rarities among them because 
they are imported from Ma'bar, Mulaybar, and 
Maqdashaw, together with rice, chickens, ghee, and 
spices. I sent all this to the house of the wazir 
Sulaymdn, who had it excellently cooked for me, and 
added to it besides sending carpets and brass utensils. 
I asked the Wazir’s permission for some of the 
ministers to attend my banquet, and he said to me 
“And I shall come too.” So I thanked him and on 
returning home to my house found him already there 
with the miniflers and high ofiicials. The Wazir sat 
in an elevated wooden pavilion, and all the amirs and 
minivers who came greeted him and threw down an 
unsewn cloth, so that there were colleifled about a 
hundred cloths, which were taken by the darwishes. 
The food was then served, and when the gueils had 
eaten, the Koran-readers chanted in beautiful voices. 
The darwishes then began their ritual chants and 
dances. 1 had made ready a fire and they went into 
it, treading it with their feet, and some of them ate 
it as one eats sweetmeats, until it was extinguished. 
When the night came to an end, the Wazir with- 
drew and I went with him. As we passed by an 
orchard belonging to the treasury he said to me “ This 
orchard is yours, and I shall build a house in it for you 
to live in.” I thanked him and prayed for his happi- 
ness. Afterwards he sent me two slave-girls, some 
pieces of silk, and a casket of jewels. 

The attitude of the Wazir afterwards became 
hoftile to me for the following reason. The wazir 



Sulayman had sent to me proposing that I should 
marry his daughter, and I sent to the Wazir Jamil 
ad-Din to ask his permission for my acceptance. The 
messenger returned to me and said “ The proposal 
does not find favour with him, for he wishes to marry 
you to his own daughter when her period of widow- 
hood comes to an end.” But I for my part refused 
that, in fear of the ill luck attached to her, for she had 
already had two husbands who had died before con- 
summating the marriage. Meanwhile I was seriously 
attacked by fever, for every person who comes to this 
island inevitably contrails fever. I determined there- 
fore to leave it, sold some of the jewels for cowries, 
and hired a vessel to take me to Bengal. When I 
went to take leave of the Wazfr, the qddi came out 
to me and said “ The Wazi'r says ‘ If you wish to go, 
give us back what we have given you and go.’ ” I 
replied “ I have bought cowries with some of the Jewels, 
so do what you like with those.” He came back to 
me and said “ He says ‘ We gave you gold, not 
cowries.’ ” I said “ I shall sell them and give you 
back the gold.” So I went to the merchants, asking 
them to buy back the cowries from me, but the Wazlr 
forbade them to do so, his purpose in all this being 
to prevent my leaving him. Afterwards he sent one 
of his courtiers to me to say “ The Wazlr says ‘ Stay 
with us, and you shall have what you will.’ ” So 
reasoning with myself that I was in their power and 
that if I did not ftay of my own free will I should be 
kept by main force, and that it was better to ftay of 
my own choice, I said to his messenger “ Very well, 
I shall ftay with him.” When the messenger returned 
to him he was overjoyed, and summoned me. As I 
entered he rose and embraced me saying “We wish 
you to ftay near us and you wish to go away from 
us 1” I made my excuses, which he accepted, and 
said to him “ If you wish me to ftay I have some 



conditions to make.” He replied “ Granted. Name 
them.” I said “ I cannot walk on foot.” (Now it is 
their cu^om that no one rides there except the Wazir, 
and when I had been given a horse and rode out on 
it, the population, men and boys, used to follow me 
in amazement. At length I complained to him, so 
he had the dunqura beaten and a public proclamation 
made that no one was to follow me. The dunqura 
is a sort of brass basin which is beaten with an iron 
rod and can be heard at a great distance ; after beating 
it any proclamation which it is desired to make is 
publicly announced.) The Wazir said “ If you wish 
to ride in a palanquin, do so; if not we have a horse 
and a mare — choose which of them you wish.” So 
I chose the mare and it was brought to me on the 
spot, along with a robe. Then I said “ What shall 
I do with the cowries I bought ?” He replied “ Send 
one of your companies to sell them for you in Bengal.” 
I said “ I shall, on condition that you too send someone 
to help him in the transaftion.” He agreed to that, 
so I sent off my companion Abii Muhammad and they 
sent a man named al-Hajj ‘All. 

Immediately after the Ramadin fail I made an 
agreement with the wazir Sulaymdn to marry his 
daughter, so I sent to the Wazir Jamil ad-Din re- 
queuing that the ceremony might be held in his 
presence at the palace. He gave his consent, and sent 
the cuilomary betel and sandalwood. The gueils 
arrived but the wazir Sulaymin delayed. He was 
sent for but ilill did not come, and on being summoned 
a second time excused himself on the ground of his 
daughter’s illness. The Wazir then said to me 
privily “ His daughter has refused, and she is her 
own miilress. The people have assembled, so what 
do you say to marrying the Sultana’s mother-in-law ?” 
(It was her daughter to whom the Wazir’s son was 
married.) I said “ Very well,” so the qadi and notaries 



were summoned, and the profession of faith recited. 
The Wazir paid her dowry, and she was conduced 
to me a few days later. She was one of the beil of 

After this marriage the Wazir forced me to take 
the office of q4di. The reason for this was that I 
had reproached the qadi for his pradlice of taking a 
tenth of all estates when he divided them amongft 
the heirs, saying to him “ You should have nothing 
but a fee agreed upon between you and the heirs.” 
Besides he never did anything properly. When I 
was appointed, I strove my utmost to e^ablish the 
prescriptions of the Sacred Law. There are no law- 
suits there like those in our land. The firft bad 
custom I changed was the praftice of divorced wives 
of staying in the houses of their former husbands, for 
they all do so till they marry another husband. I 
soon put that to rights. About twenty-five men who 
had a6ted thus were brought before me; I had them 
beaten and paraded in the bazaars, and the women 
put away from them. Afterwards I gave ^rift in- 
jundlions that the prayers were to be observed, and 
ordered men to go swiftly to the streets and bazaars 
after the Friday service; anyone whom they found 
not having prayed I had beaten and paraded. . I 
compelled the salaried prayer-leaders and muezzins 
to be assiduous in their duties and sent letters to all 
the islands to the same effeft. I tried also to make 
the women wear clothes, but I could not manage 

Meanwhile I had married three other wives, one 
the daughter of a wazir whom they held in high 
esteem and whose grandfather had been sultan, another 
the former wife of Shihdb ad-Din. After these 
marriages the islanders came to fear me, because of 
their weakness, and they exerted themselves to turn 
the Wazir againft me by slanders, until our relations 



became strained. Now it happened that a slave 
belonging to the sultan Shihab ad-Din was brought 
before me on a charge of adultery, and I had him beaten 
and put in prison. The Wazir sent some of his 
principal attendants to me to ask me to set him at 
liberty. I said to them “ Are you going to intercede 
for a negro slave who has violated his maker’s honour, 
when you yourselves but yefterday deposed Shihdb 
ad-Din and put him to death because he had entered 
the house of one of his slaves f" Thereupon I sent 
for the slave and had him beaten with bamboo rods, 
which give heavier blows than whips, and paraded 
through the island with a rope round his neck. When 
the Wazir heard of this he fell into a violent rage, 
assembled the minivers and army commanders and 
sent for me. I came to him, and though I usually 
made obeisance to him, I did not make obeisance but 
simply said Saldm ‘alaykum. Then I said to those 
present “ Be my witnesses that I resign the office of 
qadi because of my inability to carry out its duties.” 
The Wazir addressed me, whereupon I mounted [to 
the dais], sat down in a place facing him, and answered 
him in the mo^l uncompromising manner. At this 
point the muezzin chanted the call to the sunset 
prayer and he went into his palace saying “ They say 
that I am sultan, but I sent for this fellow to vent 
my wrath on him and he vented his wrath on me.” 
The respedk in which I was held amongst them was 
due solely to the sultan of India, for they were aware 
of the regard in which he held me, and even though 
they are far di^ant from him yet the fear of him is 
in their hearts. 

When the Wazir entered his palace he sent for the 
former qddi who had been removed from office. This 
man had an arrogant tongue, and said to me “ Our 
mailer asks you why you violated his dignity in the 
presence of witnesses, and did not make obeisance to 



him.” I answered “ I used to make obeisance to him 
only because I was on good terms with him, but when 
his attitude changed I gave that up. The greeting 
of Muslims is Sal dm and nothing more, and I said 
Salami' He sent him to me a second time to say 
“ You are aiming only at leaving us; give back your 
wives’ dowries and pay your debts and go, if you 
will.” On hearing this I made obeisance to him, 
went to my house, and acquitted all the debts I had 
contradled. On learning that I had done so and was 
bent upon going, the Wazi'r repented of what he had 
said and withheld his permission for my departure. 
So I swore with the moil solemn oaths that I had no 
alternative but to leave, and removed all my possessions 
to a mosque on the coail. I made a compadl with 
two of the ministers that I should go to the land of 
Ma'bar [Coromandel], the king of which was the 
husband of my wife’s siiler, and fetch troops from 
there to bring the islands under his authority, and 
that 1 should be his representative in them. I arranged 
that the signal between us should be the hoiiling of 
white flags on the ships; when they saw these they 
were to rise in revolt on the shore. I had never 
suggeiled this to myself until the Wazir became 
eilranged from me. He was afraid of me and used 
to say “ This man will without doubt seize the wazlrate, 
either in my lifetime or after my death.” He was 
constantly making enquiries about me and saying “ I 
have heard that the king of India has sent him money 
to aid him to revolt againSl me.” He feared my 
departure, leSl I should fetch troops from Ma'bar, 
and sent to me asking me to Slay until he could fit 
out a vessel for me, but I refused. The ministers 
and chief men came to me at the mosque and begged 
me to return. I said to them “ If I had not sworn 
I should return.” They suggested that I should go 
to one of the islands to avoid breaking my oath and 



then return, so I said “ Very well,” in order to satisfy 
them. When the night fixed for my departure came 
I went to take leave of the Wazir, and he embraced 
me and wept so copiously that his tears dropped on 
my feet. He passed the following night guarding 
the island in person, for fear that my relatives by 
marriage and my friends would rise in revolt againft 

I set sail and reached the island of the wazir ‘All. 
Here my wife was attacked by severe pains and wished 
to go back, so I divorced her and left her there, sending 
word to that eflfeft to the Wazir, because she was the 
mother of his son’s wife. We continued to travel 
through the islands from one diilrift to another and 
came to a tiny island in which there was but one 
house, occupied by a weaver. He had a wife and 
family, a few coco-palms and a small boat, with which 
he used to fish and to cross over to any of the islands 
he wished to visit. His island contained also a few 
banana trees, but we saw no land birds on it except 
two ravens, which came out to us on our arrival and 
circled above our vessel. And I swear I envied that 
man, and wished that the island had been mine, that 
I might have made it my retreat until the inevitable 
hour should befall me. We then came to the island 
of Muliik where the ship belonging to the captain 
Ibrdhim was lying. This was the ship in which I 
had decided to travel to Ma'bar. Ibrdhim and his 
companions met me and showed me great hospitality. 
The Wazir had sent in^lruftions that I was to receive 
in this island thirty dinars’ worth of cowries, together 
with a quantity or coconut, honey, betel, areca-nuts, 
and fish every day. I stayed seventy days at Mulilk 
and married two wives there. The islanders were 
afraid that Ibrdhim would plunder them at the moment 
of sailing, so they proposed to seize all the weapons 
on his ship and keep them until the day of his depar- 



ture. A dispute arose over this, and we returned to 
Mahal but did not enter the harbour. I wrote to 
the Wazir to tell him what had occurred, whereupon 
he wrote to say that there was no cause for seizing 
the weapons. We returned to Muliik and set sail 
from there in the middle of Rabf‘ II., 745 (22nd 
Augu^l 1344). Four months later the Wazfr Jamdl 
ad-Dln died — may God have mercy upon him. 

We set sail without an experienced pilot on board, 
the diftance between the island and Ma'bar being 
a three days’ journey, and travelled for nine days, 
emerging on the ninth day at the island of Sayldn 
[Ceylon]. We saw the mountain of Sarandib there, 
rising into the heavens like a column of smoke.® 
When we came to the island, the sailors said “ This 
port is not in the territory of the sultan whose country- 
can safely be visited by merchants. It is in the ter- 
ritory of Sultan Ayr! Shakarwati', who is an evil 
tyrant and keeps pirate vessels.”'* We were afraid 
to put into this harbour, but as a gale arose thereafter 
and we dreaded the sinking of the ship, I said to the 
captain “Put me ashore and I shall get you a safe- 
condudl: from this sultan.” He did as I asked and put 
me ashore, whereupon the infidels came to us and 
said “ What are you ?” I told them that I was the 
brother-in-law and friend of the sultan of Ma'bar, 
that 1 had come to visit him, and that the contents 
of the ship were a present for him. They went to 
their sultan and informed him of this. Thereupon he 
summoned me, and I visited him in the town of 
Battdla [Puttelam], which is his capital. It is a small 
and pretty town, surrounded by a wooden wall with 
wooden towers. The whole of its coalls are covered 
with cinnamon trees brought down by torrents and 
heaped up like hills on the shore. They are taken 
without payment by the people of Ma'bar and Mulay- 
bdr, but in return for this |they give presents of woven 



fluffs and similar articles to the sviltan. It is a day 
and a night’s journey from this island to the land of 

When I entered the presence of the infidel Sultan 
Ayri Shakarwati', he rose to meet me, seated me beside 
him, and spoke moil kindly to me. He said “ Your 
companions may land in safety and will be my gueils 
until they sail, for the sultan of Ma'bar and I are 
friends.” He then ordered me to be lodged and I 
ilayed with him three days, enjoying great considera- 
tion which increased every day. He underilood 
Persian and was delighted with the tales I told him 
of kings and countries. One day, after presenting 
me with some valuable pearls, he said “ Do not be 
shy, but ask me for anything that you want” I 
replied “ Since reaching this island I have had but 
one desire, to visit the blessed Foot of Adam.” (They 
call Adam Bdbd, and Eve they call M4m4.) “ That 

is simple,” he answered, “We shall send an escort 
with you to take you to it.” “ That is what I want,” 
said I, then I added “ And this ship that I came in 
can set out in safety for Ma’bar, and when I return 
you will send me in your own vessels.” “ Certainly ” 
he replied. When I related this to the captain, 
however, he said to me “ I shall not sail until you 
return, even if I wait a year on your account,” so I 
told the sultan of this, and he said “ He will remain 
as my guefl until you come back.” 

The sultan then gave me a palanquin, which was 
carried by his slaves, and sent with me four Yogis, 
whose cu^om it is to make an annual pilgrimage to 
the Foot, three Brahmans,® ten other persons from his 
entourage, and fifteen men to carry provisions. Water 
is plentiful along that road. On the firil day we 
encamped beside a river, which we crossed on a raft, 
made of bamboo canes. Thence we journeyed to 
Manir Mandalf [Minneii-Mandel], a fine town 



situated at the extremity of the sultan’s territories. 
The inhabitants entertained us with a fine banquet, 
the chief dish at which was buffalo calves, which they 
hunt in a foreft there and bring in alive. After 
passing the small town of Bandar Saldwat [Chilaw] 
our way lay through rugged country intersefted with 
streams. In this part there are many elephants, but 
they do no harm to pilgrims and strangers, through 
the blessed favour of the Shaykh Abii ‘AbddUh, who 
was the firft to open up this road for the pilgrimage 
to the Foot. These infidels used formerly to prevent 
Muslims from making this pilgrimage and would 
maltreat them, and neither eat nor trade with them, 
but since the adventure that happened to the Shaykh, 
as we have related above [p. 95], they honour the 
Muslims, allow them to enter their houses, eat with 
them, and have no suspicions regarding their dealings 
with their wives and children. To this day they 
continue to pay the greatest veneration to this Shaykh, 
and call him “ the Great Shaykh.” 

After this we came to the town of Kunakdr, which is 
the capital of the principal sultan in this land.® It 
lies in a narrow valley between two hills, near a great 
lake called the Lake of Rubies, because rubies are 
found in it. Outside the town is the mosque of Shaykh 
‘Othmdn of Shfriz, known as the Shdwush; the sultan 
and inhabitants visit his tomb and venerate him. He 
was the guide to the Foot, and when his hand and 
foot were cut oflF, his sons and slaves took his place 
as guides. The reason for his mutilation was that he 
killed a cow. The Hindu infidels have a law that 
anyone who kills a cow is slaughtered in the same 
fashion or else put in its skin and butned. As Shaykh 
‘Othmin was so highly revered by them, they cut 
off his hand and foot instead, and assigned to him 
the revenues of one of the bazaars. The sultan of 
Kunakdr is called the Kunar, and possesses a white 



elephant, the only white elephant I have seen in the 
whole world. He rides on it at feftivals and puts 
great rubies on its forehead. The marvellous rubies 
called bahramdn [carbuncles] are found only in this 
town. Some are taken from the lake and these are 
regarded by them as the moil valuable, and some are 
obtained by digging. In the island of Ceylon rubies 
are found in all parts. The land is private property, 
and a man buys a parcel of it and digs for rubies. 
Some of them are red, some yellow [], and 
some blue [sapphires]. Their custom is that all 
rubies of the value of a hundred fanams belong to 
the sultan, who pays their price and takes them; 
those of less value belong to the finders. A hundred 
fanams equal in value six gold dinars. 

We went on from Kunakdr and halted at a cave called 
after Mahmdd the Liin', a pious man who dug 
out this cave at the foot of a hill beside a small lake. 
Thence we travelled to the Lake of Monkeys. There 
arc in these mountains vaif numbers of monkeys. 
They are black and have long tails, and their males 
are bearded like men. Shaykh ‘Othmdn and his sons 
and others as well told me that these monkeys have 
a chief, whom they obey as if he were a king. He 
fastens on his head a fillet of leaves and leans upon 
a Staff. On his right and his left are four monkeys 
carrying Staves in their hands. When the chief 
monkey sits down the four monkeys Stand behind 
him, and his female and young come and sit in front 
of him every day. The other monkeys come and sit 
at a distance from him, then one of the four monkeys 
addresses them and all the monkeys withdraw. After 
this each one brings a banana or a lemon or some 
such fruit, and the monkey chief with his young and 
the four monkeys eat. One of the Yogis told me that 
he had seen the four monkeys in the presence of their 
chief beating a monkey with Sticks and after the beating 

257 s 


pulling out its hair. We continued our journey to 
a place called “ The Old Woman’s Hut,” which is 
the end of the inhabited part, and marched thence 
by a number of grottoes. In this place we saw the 
flying leech, which sits on trees and in the vegetation 
near water. When a man approaches it jumps out 
at him, and wheresoever it alights on his body the 
blood flows freely. The inhabitants keep a lemon in 
readiness for it; they squeeze this over it and it falls 
off them, then they scrape the place on which it 
alighted with a wooden knife which they have for the 

The mountain of Sarandfb [Adam’s Peak] is one 
of the highest in the world. We saw it from the sea 
when we were nine days’ journey away, and when 
we climbed it we saw the clouds below us, shutting 
out our view of its base. On it there are many ever- 
green trees and flowers of various colours, including 
a red rose as big as the palm of a hand. There are 
two tracks on the mountain leading to the Foot, one 
called Bdba track and the other Mamd track, meaning 
Adam and Eve. The Mamd track is easy and is 
the route by which the pilgrims return, but anyone 
who goes by that way is not considered by them to 
have made the pilgrimage at all. The Babd track is 
difficult and Stiff climbing. Former generations cut 
a sort of Stairway on the mountain, and fixed iron 
Stanchions on it, to which they attached chains for 
climbers to hold on by.^ There are ten such chains, 
two at the foot of the hill by the “threshold,” seven 
successive chains farther on, and the tenth is the 
“ Chain of the Profession of Faith,” so called because 
when one reaches it and looks down to the foot of the 
hill, he is seized by apprehensions and recites the 
profession of faith for fear of falling. When you 
climb paSf this chain you find a rough track. From 
the tenth chain to the grotto of Khidr is seven miles; 



From an eighteenth century print 


this grotto lies in a wide plateau, and near by it is 
a spring full of fish, but no one catches them. Close 
to this there are two tanks cut in the rock on either 
side of the path. At the grotto of Khidr the pilgrims 
leave their belongings and ascend thence for two miles 
to the summit of the mountain where the Foot is. 

The blessed Footprint, the Foot of our father 
"Adam, is on a lofty black rock in a wide plateau. 
The blessed Foot sank into the rock far enough to 
leave its impression hollowed out. It is eleven spans 
long. In ancient days the Chinese came here and 
cut out of the rock the mark of the great toe and the 
adjoining parts. They put this in a temple at Zaytiin, 
where it is visited by men from the farthest parts of 
the land. In the rock where the Foot is there are 
nine holes cut out, in which the infidel pilgrims place 
offerings of gold, precious ^ones, and jewels. You 
can see the darwfshes, after they reach the grotto of 
Khidr, racing one another to take what there is in 
these holes. We, for our part, found nothing in 
them but a few ^ones and a little gold, which we gave 
to the guide. It is customary for the pilgrims to flay 
at the grotto of Khidr for three days, visiting the Foot 
every morning and evening, and we followed this 
pradlice. When the three days were over we returned 
by the Mami track, halting at a number of villages 
on the mountain. At the foot of the mountain there 
is an ancient tree whose leaves never fall, situated in 
a place that cannot be got at. 1 have never met 
anyone who has seen its leaves. I saw there a number 
of Yogis who never quit the base of the mountain 
waiting for its leaves to fall. They tell lying tales 
about it, one being that whosoever eats of it regains 
his youth, even if he be an old man, but that is false. 
Beneath the mountain is the great lake from which 
the rubies are taken; its water is a bright blue to the 



We travelled thence to Dinawar, a large town on 
the coaft, inhabited by merchants. In this town 
there is an idol, known as Dinawar, in a vail temple,® 
in which there are about a thousand Brahmans and 
Yogis, and about five hundred women, daughters of 
the infidels, who sing and dance every night in front 
of the idol. The city and all its revenues form an 
endowment belonging to the idol, from which all who 
live in the temple and who visit it are supplied with 
food. The idol itself is of gold, about a man’s height, 
and in the place of its eyes it has two great rubies, 
which, as I was told, shine at night like lamps. We 
went on to the town of Q4li [Point de Galle], a small 
place eighteen miles from Dinawar, and journeyed 
thence to the town of Kalanbii [Colombo], which is 
one of the finest and larged towns in Ceylon. In it 
resides the wazir and ruler of the sea Jalafti, who 
has with him about five hundred Abyssinians. Three 
days after leaving Kalanbii we reached Battala again 
and visited the sultan of whom we have spoken above. 
I found the captain Ibrdhim awaiting me and we set 
sail for the land of Ma‘bar. 



On our voyage to Ma'bar [Coromandel] a gale sprang 
up and our ship nearly filled with water. We had 
no experienced pilot on board. We narrowly escaped 
being wrecked on some rocks, and then came into some 
shallows where the ship ran aground. We were 
face-to-face with death, and those on board jettisoned 
all that they had, and bade farewell to one another. 
We cut down the maft and threw it overboard, and 
the sailors made a wooden raft. We were then about 
six miles from the shore. I set about climbing down 
to the raft, when my companions (for I had two slave 
girls and two of my companions with me) said to me 
“ Are you going to go on the raft and leave us ?” 
So I put their safety before my own and said “You 
two go and take with you the girl that I like.” The 
other girl said “ I am a good swimmer and I shall 
hold on to one of the raft ropes and swim with them.” 
So both my companions and the one girl went on the 
raft, the other girl swimming. The sailors tied ropes 
to the raft and swam with their aid. I sent along 
with them all the things that I valued and the jewels 
and ambergris, and they reached the shore in safety 
because the wind was in their favour. I myself flayed 
on the ship. The captain made his way ashore on 
the rudder. The sailors set to work to make four 
rafts, but night fell before they were completed, and 
the ship filled with water. I climbed on the poop 
and flayed there until morning, when a party of in- 
fidels came out to us in a boat and we went ashore 
with them in the land of Ma‘bar. We told them 



that we were friends of their sultan, under whose 
protedfion they live, and they wrote informing him 
of this. He was then two days’ journey away, on an 
expedition. I too wrote to him telling him what had 
happened to me. 

We flayed there three days, at the end of which 
an amir arrived from the sultan with a body of horse 
and foot, bringing a palanquin and ten horses. I 
and my companions, the captain, and one of the slave- 
girls rode, and the other was carried in the palanquin. 
We reached the fort of Harkdtii,^ where we spent 
the night, and where I left the slave-girls and some 
of my slaves and companions. On the following day 
we arrived at the camp of the sultan, who was Ghiydth 
ad-Din of Damaghdn.'^ He was married to the 
daughter of the late Sultan Jalal ad-Din, and it was 
her sidler that I had married in Delhi. It is a cuftom 
throughout the land of India that no person enters 
the sultan’s presence without boots on. I had no boots 
with me so one of the infidels gave me a pair. There 
were a number of Muslims there and I was adlonished 
to find an infidel show greater courtesy than they did. 
When I appeared before the sultan he bade me be 
seated and assigned to me three tents in his vicinity, 
sending me carpets and food. Later on I had an 
interview with him and put before him the projeft 
to send an army to the Maidive Islands. He resolved 
to do so, decided what vessels were to be sent, and 
designated a gift for the Sultana, together with robes 
and presents for the miniilers and amirs. He charged 
me to draw up his contraft of marriage with the 
Sultana’s siller and ordered three vessels to be loaded 
with alms for the poor of the islands. Then he said 
to me “ You will return in five days’ time,” but the 
admiral said to him “ It is impossible to sail to the 
islands for three months yet.” “ Well then ” he 
replied to me, “ if that is the case, come to Fattan 



until we finish the present campaign and return to 
our capital Mutra [Madura], and the expedition will 
ftart from there.” 

The country through which we were to pass was 
an uninterrupted and impassable jungle of trees and 
reeds. The sultan gave orders that every man in 
the army, great and small alike, should carry a hatchet 
to cut it down, and when the camp was struck, he rode 
forward with his troops and they cut down those 
trees from morning to noon. Food was then brought, 
and the whole army ate in relays, afterwards returning 
to their tree-felling until the evening. All the infidels 
whom they found in the jungle were taken prisoner, 
and brought to the camp with their wives and children. 
Their pradlice is to fortify their camp with a wooden 
palisade, which has four gates. Outside the palisade 
there are platforms about three feet high on which 
they light a fire at night. By the fire there is polled 
a night guard of slaves and footsoldiers, each of whom 
carries a bundle of thin canes. If a party of infidels 
should attempt to attack the camp by night each sentry 
lights the bundle he has in his hand, so that the night 
becomes as bright as the day, and the horsemen ride 
out in pursuit of the infidels. In the morning the 
infidels whom our troops had captured the previous 
day were divided into four groups and impaled at 
the four gates of the camp. Their women and little 
children were butchered also and the women tied by 
their hair to the pales. Thereafter the camp was 
struck and they set to work cutting down another 
patch of jungle, and all those who were taken prisoner 
were treated in the same way. This [slaughtering 
of women and children] is a dastardly practice, 
which I have never known of any [other] king, 
and it was because of it that God brought him to a 
speedy end. 

I left the camp and reached Fattan, which is a large 



and fine city on the coaft, with a wonderful harbour.® 
There is a great wooden pavilion in it, eredled on 
enormous beams and reached by a covered wooden 
gallery. When an enemy attacks the place they tie 
all the vessels in port to this pavilion, which is manned 
by soldiers and archers, so that the enemy has no 
chance [of capturing them]. In this city there is 
a fine mosque, built of ^one, and it has also large 
quantities of grapes and excellent pomegranates. I 
met here the pious shaykh Muhammad of Nishapdr, 
one of the crazy darwishes who let their hair hang 
loose over their shoulders. He had with him a lion 
which he had tamed, and which used to eat and sit 
along with the darwishes. Accompanying him were 
about thirty darwishes, one of whom had a gazelle. 
Though the gazelle and the lion used to be together 
in the same place, the lion did not moleil it. While 
I was staying at Fattan the sultan fell ill and came 
to the city. I went out to meet him and made him 
a present. When he had taken up his residence 
there he sent for the admiral and said to him “ Take 
no business in hand except [to equip] the ships which 
are to make the expedition to the islands.” He wished 
also to give me the value of my present, but I refused 
it. Afterwards I was sorry for this, because he died 
and I received nothing. He flayed a fortnight at 
Fattan and then set out for his capital, but I flayed 
there for another fortnight. 

I then journeyed to his capital, the city of Mutra 
[Madura], a large town with wide flreets. On my 
arrival I found it in the grip of a plague. Those 
who were attacked by it died on the second or third 
day, or at the moil on the fourth. When I went out 
I saw none but sick and dead. The sultan on reaching 
Mutra had found his mother, wife, and son ill, and 
after ilaying in the town for three days, he went out 
to a river three miles away. I joined him there, and 



he ordered me to be lodged alongside the qidi. 
Exaftly a fortnight later the sultan died and was 
succeeded by his nephew Nisir ad-Dln. The new 
sultan gave orders that I should be furnished with 
all the ships that his uncle had appointed for the 
expedition to the islands. Later on, however, I fell 
ill of a fever which is mortal in those parts, and thought 
that my time had come. God inspired me to have 
recourse to the tamarind, which grows abundantly 
there, so I took about a pound of it, put it in water 
and drank it. It relaxed me for three days, and God 
healed me of my illness. I took a dislike to this town 
in consequence, and asked the sultan for permission 
to depart. He said to me “ Why should you go ? 
It is only a month until the season for the expedition 
to the islands. Stay until we give you all that the 
Mailer of the World [the late sultan] ordered for 
you.” I refused however, and he wrote on my behalf 
to Fattan, that I might sail in any ship I wished. 

I returned to Fattan, and found eight vessels sailing 
to Yemen, on one of which I embarked. We fell in 
with four warships which engaged us for a short time, 
but afterwards they retired and we went on to Kawlam 
[Quilon]. As I was ^ill feeling the effefts of my 
illness, I ^ayed there 'for three months, afterwards 
embarking on a vessel with the intention of making 
for Sultan Jamal ad-Dln of Hinawr. When we 
reached the small island between Hinawr and Fdkanilr,^ 
we were assailed by the infidels with twelve warships, 
who fought us vigorously and got the better of us. 
They seized all that I had kept in reserve for emer- 
gencies, together with the jewels and precious Clones 
which the king of Ceylon gave me, my clothes and the 
travelling provisions I kept with me which had been 
given me by pious men and saints, leaving me with 
no covering but my trousers. They seized the pos- 
sessions of every one on board, and put us ashore on 



the coaSl. I made my way back to Cdliciit, and 
went into a mosque; one of the theologians sent 
me a robe, the qidi sent a turban, and a merchant 
another robe. 

At Cilicilt I learned of the marriage of the Sultana 
Khadija [of the Maidive islands] with the wazir 
‘Abdallah after the death of the wazir Jamdl ad-Din, 
and that my wife, whom I had left there pregnant, had 
given birth to a son. I thought therefore of making 
a journey to the islands, but remembering the hostility 
of the wazir ‘AbdalUh towards me I [sought an omen 
from the Koran and] opened the volume at these 
words The angels shall descend upon them saying “ Fear 
not^ neither he sad" So I commended myself to God, 
and set sail. Ten days later I disembarked at Kan- 
naliis, where the governor received me with honour, 
made me his gue^t, and fitted out a boat for me. 
Some of the islanders went to the wazir ‘Abdallih 
and informed him of my arrival. He asked about 
me and who had come with me, and was told that 
the purpose of my visit was to fetch my son, who 
was about two years old.® His mother came to the 
wazir to lay a complaint againft this, but he replied 
to her “ I for my part will not hinder him from taking 
away his son.” He pressed me to visit the island [of 
Mahal], and lodged me in a house facing the tower 
of his palace, that he might observe my movements. 
My son was brought to me, but I thought it better 
that he should ^ay with them so I gave him back to 
them. After a ftay of five days, it appeared to me 
that the be^l plan was to ha^en my departure, and 1 
asked permission to leave. The wazir summoned 
me, and when I entered his presence he seated me at 
his side and asked how I fared. I ate a meal in his 
company and washed my hands in the same basin 
with him, a thing which he does with no one. Betel 
was brought in and I took my leave. He sent me 



robes and hundreds of thousands of cowries, and was 
mo^l generous in his treatment of me. 

I set out again, and we spent forty-three nights at 
sea, arriving eventually at the land of Bangdla [Bengal]. 
This is a va^l country, abounding in rice, and nowhere 
in the world have I seen any land where prices are 
lower than there; on the other hand it is a gloomy 
place, and the people of Khurasdn call it “ A hell full 
of good things.” I have seen fat fowls sold there at 
the rate of eight for a single dirham, young pigeons 
at fifteen to the dirham, and a fat ram sold for two 
dirhams. I saw too a piece of fine cotton cloth, of 
excellent quality, thirty cubits long, sold for two 
dinars, and a beautiful slave-girl for a single gold 
dinar, that is, two and a half gold dinars in Moroccan 
money. The firll city in Bengal that we entered was 
Sudkawan, a large town on the coaft of the great 
sea.® Close by it the river Ganges, to which the 
Hindus go on pilgrimage, and the river Jdn’ unite 
and discharge together into the sea. They have a 
large fleet on the river, with which they make war on 
the inhabitants of the land of Laknawti.® 

The sultan of Bengal is Sultan Fakhr ad-Din, an 
excellent ruler with a partiality for Strangers, especially 
darwishes and siifis. The kingship of this land 
belonged to Sultan Ndsir ad-Din, whose grandson 
was taken prisoner by the sultan of Delhi, and released 
by Sultan Muhammad when he became king, on 
condition of sharing his sovereignty with him. He 
broke his promise and Sultan Muhammad went to 
war with him, put him to death, and appointed a 
relative by marriage of his own as governor of that 
country. This man was put to death by the troops 
and the kingdom was seized by ‘Ali-Sh4h, who was 
then in Laknawti. When Fakhr ad-Din saw that 
the kingship had passed out of the hands of NAsir 
ad-Din’s descendants (he was a client of theirs), he 



revolted in Sudkawan and Bengal and made himself 
an independent ruler. A violent druggie took place 
between him and ‘Ali-Shah. During the season of 
winter and mud, Fakhr ad-Din used to make expedi- 
tions up the river against the land of Laknawti, because 
of his naval superiority, but when the rainless season 
returned, ‘AH-Shah would make raids by land on 
Bengal, because of his superiority in land-forces. 
When I entered Sudkawan I did not visit the sultan, 
nor did I meet him, as he is a rebel againft the king 
of India, and I was afraid of the consequences which 
a visit to him might entail. 

I set out from Sudkdwdn for the mountains of 
Kamarii, a month’s journey from there. This is a 
vail range of mountains extending to China and also 
to the land of Thubbat [Tibet], where the musk deer 
are. The inhabitants of this range resemble the 
Turks; they possess great endurance, and their value 
as slaves is many times greater than a slave of any 
other nationality.® They are famous for their magical 
praftices. My purpose in travelling to these moun- 
tains was to meet a notable saint who lives there, 
namely, Shaykh Jalal ad-Dln of Tabriz. At a diilance 
of two days’ journey from his abode I was met by 
four of his disciples, who told me that the Shaykh 
had said to the darwishes who were with him “ The 
traveller from the We^l has come to you; go out 
to welcome him.” He had no knowledge whatever 
about me, but this had been revealed to him. I went 
with them to the Shaykh and arrived at his hermitage, 
situated outside the cave. There is no cultivated 
land there, but the inhabitants of the country, both 
Muslim and infidel, come to visit him, bringing gifts 
and presents, and the darwishes and travellers live 
on these ofiFerings. The Shaykh however limits him- 
self to a single cow, with whose milk he breaks his fa^ 
every ten days. It was by his labours that the people 


of these mountains became converted to Isldm, and 
that was the reason for his settling amongft them. 
When I came into his presence he rose to greet me 
and embraced me. He asked me about my native 
land and my travels, and when I had given him an 
account of them he said to me “ You are the traveller 
of the Arabs.” Those of his disciples who were there 
said “ Ar.d the non-Arabs too, O our mailer.” “ And 
of the non-Arabs too ” he repeated, “ so show him 
honour.” They then took me to the hermitage and 
gave me hospitality for three days. 

On the day when I visited the Shaykh I saw that he 
was wearing a wide mantle of goatshair. It took my 
fancy and I said to myself “ I wish the Shaykh could 
have given it to me.” When I visited him to bid 
him farewell, he went to the side of the cave, took off 
the mantle and placed it upon me, together with a 
skull-cap from his head, himself putting on a patched 
garment. The darwishes told me that the Shaykh 
was not in the habit of wearing this mantle and had 
put it on only when I arrived, saying to them “ This 
mantle will be asked for by the Moroccan, and it 
will be taken from him by an infidel sultan, who will 
give it to our brother Burhan ad-Dln of Sigharj, 
whose it is and for whom it was made.” When they 
told me this I said to them “ I have obtained the 
blessing of the Shaykh through his clothing me with 
his garments, and I for my part shall not enter the 
presence of any sultan, infidel or Muslim, wearing 
this mantle.” With this I withdrew from the Shaykh’s 
presence. Now it came about a long time afterwards 
that I visited China and eventually reached the city 
of Khansa [Hang-chow-fu]. My party were separated 
from me by the pressure of the crowd and I was wearing 
this mantle. I happened to be in a certain ftreet 
when the wazlr came by with a large suite. His eye 
fell upon me, and summoning me he clasped my hand, 



asked me about my arrival, and continued talking to 
me until I came to the sultan's palace with him. At 
this point I wished to take leave of him, but he would 
not hear of it and introduced me into the sultan’s 
presence. The latter questioned me about the 
Muhammadan sultans and when I replied to his 
questions, he looked at the mantle and took a liking 
to it. The wazir said to me “ Take it off,” and I 
could not resist his order. So the sultan took it and 
ordered me to be given ten robes, a horse and harness, 
and a sum of money. The incident roused my anger, 
but afterwards I recalled the Shaykh’s saying that an 
infidel sultan would seize it and I was deeply amazed 
at the fulfilment of the prediction. The following 
year I entered the palace of the king of China at 
Khan-Bdliq [Peking], and sought out the convent of 
the Shaykh Burhin ad-Din of Sagharj. I found him 
reading and wearing that identical mantle. I was 
astonished and took it in my hand to examine it. 
He said to me “ Why examine it when you know it 
already ?” “ True ” I replied, “ it is the one that 

was taken from me by the sultan of Khansa.” “ This 
mantle ” he went on “ was made specially for me by 
my brother Jalal ad-Di'n, who wrote to me saying 
‘ The mantle will reach you by the hand of so-and-so.’ ” 
Then he brought out the letter and I read it, marvel- 
ling at the Shaykh’s perfeCt foreknowledge. I told 
Burhan ad-Dm the beginning of the Story, and he said 
to me “ My brother Jalil ad-Din can do much more 
than all this, he has the powers of creation at his 
disposal, but he has now passed to the mercy of God. 
I have been told ” he added, “ that he prayed the dawn- 
prayer every day at Mecca, and that he made the 
pilgrimage every year, for he used to disappear from 
sight on the days of ‘Arafa and the festival, and no 
one knew where he went.” 

When I had bidden farewell to Shaykh Jal41 ad-Dln 



I journeyed to Habanq, an exceedingly large and 
beautiful city, traversed by the river which descends 
from the Kamaril mountains. This river is called 
the Blue River, “ and is used by travellers to Bengal 
and Laknawd. On its banks there are water wheels, 
orchards, and villages to right and to left, like the 
Nile in Egypt. Its people are infidels under Muslim 
rule, who are mulfted of half their crops and pay 
taxes over and above that. We travelled down the 
river for fifteen days between villages and orchards, 
ju^l as if we were going through a bazaar. There 
are innumerable vessels on it and each vessel carries 
a drum; when two vessels meet, each of them beats 
its drum and they salute one another. Sultan Fakhr 
ad-Dln gave orders that no passage-money should be 
taken on this river from darwishes, and that provisions 
were to be supplied to those of them who had none, 
and when a darwish comes to a town he is given half 
a dinar. After fifteen days’ sailing down the river 
as we have related, we reached the city of Sunur- 
kdwdn,^^ where we found a junk on the point of sailing 
for the land of Jawa [Sumatra], which is a journey 
of forty days from there, so we embarked on it. 



Fifteen days after leaving Sunarkawan we reached 
the country of the Barahnakdr, whose mouths are like 
those of dogs.^ This tribe is a rabble, professing 
neither the religion of the Hindus nor any other. 
They live in reed huts roofed with grasses on the 
seashore, and have abundant banana, areca, and betel 
trees. Their men are shaped like ourselves, except 
that their mouths are shaped like those of dogs; this 
is not the case with their womenfolk, however, who 
are endowed with surpassing beauty. Their men too 
go unclothed, not even hiding their nakedness, except 
occasionally for an ornamental pouch of reeds sus- 
pended from their waists. The women wear aprons 
of leaves of trees. With them reside a number of 
Muslims from Bengal and Sumatra, who occupy a 
separate quarter. The natives do all their trafficking 
with the merchants on the shore, and bring them 
water on elephants, because the water is at some 
diftance from the coa^t and they will not let the 
merchants go to draw it for themselves, fearing for 
their women because they make advances to well- 
formed men. Elephants are numerous in their land, 
but no one may dispose of them except the sultan, 
from whom they are bought in exchange for woven 

Their sultan came to meet us, riding on an elephant, 
which carried a sort of packsaddle made of skins. 
He himself was dressed, in goatskins with the hair 
to the outside; on his head there were three coloured 
bands of silk, and he had a reed javelin in his hand. 
Accompanying were about twenty of his relatives, 



mounted on elephants. "We sent him a present of 
pepper, ginger, cinnamon, [cured] fish from the 
Maidive Islands, and some Bengali cloth. They do 
not wear the cloth themselves, but cover their ele- 
phants with it on fea^l days. This sultan exafts from 
every ship that puts in at his land a slave girl, a white 
slave, enough cloth to cover an elephant, and ornaments 
of gold, which his wife wears on her girdle and her 
toes. If anyone withholds this tribute, they put a 
spell on him which raises a ftorm on sea, so that he 
perishes or all but perishes. 

Twenty-five days after leaving these people we 
reached the island of Jdwa [Sumatra],® from which 
the incense called jdwi takes its name. We saw the 
island when we were ilill half a day’s journey from it. 
It is verdant and fertile; the commoner trees there 
are the coco-palm, areca, clove, Indian aloe, jack- 
tree,® mango, jamiin,'* sweet orange, and camphor 
cane. The commerce of its inhabitants is carried on 
with pieces of tin and native Chinese gold, unsmelted. 
The majority of the aromatic plants which grow there 
are found only in the diftrifts occupied by the infidels; 
in the Muslim diSlrifts they are less plentiful. When 
we reached the harbour its people came out to us in 
small boats with coconuts, bananas, mangoes, and 
fish. Their custom is to present these to the mer- 
chants, who recompense them, each according to his 
means. The admiral’s representative also came on 
board, and after interviewing the merchants who were 
with us gave us permission to land. So we went 
ashore to the port, a large village on the coaft with 
a number of houses, called Sarhd.® It is four miles 
di^ant from the town. The admiral’s representative 
having written to the sultan to inform him of my 
arrival, the latter ordered the amir Dawlasa to meet 
me, along with the qadl and other doftors of the law. 
They came out for that purpose, bringing one of the 

273 T 


sultan’s horses and some other horses as well. I and 
my companions mounted, and we rode in to the sultan’s 
capital, the town of Sumutra, a large and beautiful 
city encompassed by a wooden wall with wooden 

The sultan of Jawa, al-Malik az-Z4hir, is a moft 
illustrious and open-handed ruler, and a lover of 
theologians. He is constantly engaged in warring 
for the Faith [againSt the infidels] and in raiding 
expeditions, but is withal a humble-hearted man, who 
walks on foot to the Friday prayers. His subjedts 
also take a pleasure in warring for the Faith and 
voluntarily accompany him on his expeditions. They 
have the upper hand over all the infidels in their 
vicinity, who pay them a poll-tax to secure peace. 

As we went towards the palace we found near by 
it some spears Stuck in the ground on both sides of 
the road. These are to indicate to the people to dis- 
mount; no one who is riding may go beyond them, so 
we dismounted there. On entering the audience-hall 
we found the sultan’s lieutenant, who rose and greeted 
us with a handshake. We sat down with him and 
he wrote a note to the sultan informing him of our 
arrival, sealed it and gave it to a page, who brought 
the reply written on the back. After this a page 
brought a huqsha^ that is, a linen bag. The lieutenant 
taking this led me by the hand into a small house, 
where he spends his hours of leisure during the day. 
He then brought out of the buqsha three aprons, one 
of pure silk, one of silk and cotton and the third of 
silk and linen, three garments like aprons which they 
call underclothing, three garments of different kinds 
called middleclothing, three woollen mantles, one of 
them being white, and three turbans. I put on one 
of the aprons in place of trousers, according to their 
custom, and one garment of each kind, and my com- 
panions took the reif of them. After food had been 



served we left the palace and rode in company with 
the lieutenant to a garden surrounded by a wooden 
wall. In the rnid^t of the garden there was a house 
built of wood and carpeted with strips of cotton velvet, 
some dyed and others undyed. We sat down here 
along with the lieutenant. The amir Dawlasa then 
came bringing two slave girls and two men servants, 
and said to me “ The sultan says to you that this 
present is in proportion to his means, not to those of 
Sultan Muhammad [of India].” The lieutenant left 
after this, and the amir Dawlasa remained with me. 

The amir and I were acquainted with one another, 
as he had come as an envoy to the sultan at Delhi. 
I said to him “ When can I see the sultan and he 
replied “ It is the cu^om of our country that a new- 
comer waits three nights before saluting the sultan, 
that he may recover from the fatigue of his journey.” 
We ^ayed for three days, food being sent to us thrice 
a day and fruits and rare sweetmeats every evening 
and morning. On the fourth day, which was a Friday, 
the amir Dawlasa came to me and said “ You will 
salute the sultan [today] in the royal enclosure of the 
cathedral mosque after the service.” After the prayer 
I went in to the sultan; he shook me by the hand 
and I saluted him, whereupon he bade me sit down 
upon his left and asked me about Sultan Muhammad 
and about my travels. He remained in the mosque 
until the afternoon prayers had been recited, after 
which he went into a chamber there, put off the 
garments he was wearing (these were robes of the kind 
worn by theologians, which he puts on when he comes 
to the mosque on Fridays), and dressed in his royal 
robes, which are mantles of silk and cotton. On 
leaving the mosque he found elephants and horses at 
the gate. Their cuSom is that if the sultan rides on 
an elephant his suite ride on horses, and vice versa. 
On this occasion he mounted an elephant, so we rode 



on horses, and went with him to the audience hall. 
We dismounted at the usual place [where the lances 
were] and the sultan rode on into the palace, where 
a ceremonial audience was held, the sultan remaining 
on his elephant opposite the pavilion where he sits 
[at receptions]. Male musicians came in and sang 
before him, after which they led in horses with silk 
caparisons, golden anklets, and halters of embroidered 
silk. These horses danced before him, a thing which 
astonished me, though I had seen the same performance 
at the court of the king of India. 

My Stay at his court in Sumutra laSted fifteen days, 
after which I asked his permission to continue my 
journey, since it was now the sailing season, and because 
it is not possible to travel to China at all times of the 
year. He fitted out a junk for us, provisioned us, 
and made us rich presents — ^may God reward him ! — 
sending one of his courtiers with us to bring his 
hospitality gift to us on the junk. We sailed along 
the coail of his territories for twenty-one nights, and 
arrived at Mul-Jdwa, an infidel land, two months’ 
ourney in length, and containing aromatic spices and 
the excellent aloes called Qdquli and Qamdri. Qdqula 
and QamSra [after which these aloes are named] form 
part of the territories of this land.® In the territories 
of the sultan of Sumutra there is only incense, camphor, 
and a little cloves and Indian aloes, whereas the larged 
quantity of these is found in Mul-J4wa. 

On reaching the port of Qdqula, we found there a 
number of junks ready for making piratical raids, and 
also for dealing with any junks that might attempt to 
resist their exaftions, for they impose a tribute on each 
junk [calling at that place]. We went ashore to 
Qdqula, which is a fine town with a wall of hewn 
^ones, broad enough for three elephants to walk 
abrea^ on it. The firft thing I saw outside the town 
was elephants bearing loads of Indian aloes, which 



they burn in their houses and which fetches the same 
price as firewood with us, or even less. That is when 
they are selling amongst themselves ; to the merchants, 
on the other hand, they sell a load of it for a roll of 
cotton cloth, which is dearer in their land than silk. 
Elephants are very numerous there; they ride on 
them and use them to carry loads. Every person has 
his elephants picketed at his door, and every shop- 
keeper his elephant picketed near him, for riding on 
to his house and for carrying loads. The same is 
the case with all the people of China and Cathay 
[Northern China]. 

The sultan of Mul-Jawa is an infidel; I saw him 
outside his palace sitting beside a pavilion on the bare 
ground. With him were the officers of ilate, and 
the troops were passing in review before him — ^foot- 
soldiers, for there are no horses there except those 
belonging to the sultan, and they have no beails but 
elephants on which to ride and fight. He was told 
about me and summoned me, whereupon I came 
forward and said “ Peace \as-ialdm\ be upon those 
who follow the true religion.”’ They underwood 
nothing but the word as-saldm. The sultan then 
welcomed me and ordered a piece of cloth to be spread 
for me to sit upon. I said to the interpreter “ How 
can I sit on the cloth when the sultan is sitting on the 
ground ?” He replied “ Such is his habit; he sits 
on the ground out of humility. You are a guefl and 
have come from a great sultan, so he wishes to show 
you honour.” Thereupon I sat down, and having 
asked me very briefly about the sultan [of India] he 
said to me “ You shall ^lay with us as a gue^t for three 
days, and after that you may go.” 

While this sultan was sitting in audience, I saw a 
man with a knife in his hand resembling a book- 
binder’s tool. He put this knife to his own neck, 
and delivered a long speech which I did not under- 



^land, then gripped it with both hands and cut his 
own throat. So sharp was the knife and so ^rong 
his grip that his head fell to the ground. I was 
amazed at his aflion. The sultan said to me “ Does 
anyone do this in your country ?” I replied “ I have 
never seen such a thing.” Then he laughed and said 
“ These are our slaves, who kill themselves for love 
of us.” He gave orders that the body should be 
carried away and burned, and the sultan’s lieutenants, 
the officers of ^late, the troops, and the citizens went out 
to his cremation. The sultan assigned a large pension 
to his children, wife, and brothers, and they were held 
in high e^eem because of this aft. One of those 
present at this audience told me that the speech made 
by the man was a declaration of his affeftion for the 
sultan, and that he was slaying himself for love of 
him, as his father had slain himself for love of the 
sultan’s father, and his grandfather for love of the 
sultan’s grandfather. Thereafter I withdrew from 
the audience and he sent me a gueft’s portion for three 

We continued our journey by sea and thirty-four 
days later came to the sluggish or motionless sea.® 
There is a reddish tinge in its waters, which, they say, 
is due to soil from a country in the vicinity. There 
are no winds or waves or movement at all in it, in 
spite of its wide extent. It is on account of this sea 
that each Chinese junk is accompanied by three vessels, 
as we have mentioned, which take it in tow and row 
it forwards. Besides this every junk has about twenty 
oars as big as mafts, each of which is manned by a 
mufter of thirty men or so, who ftand in two ranks 
facing one another. Attached to the oars are two 
enormous ropes as thick as cables; one of the ranks 
pulls on the cable [at its side], then lets go, and the 
other rank pulls [on the cable at its side]. They chant 
in musical voices as they do this, moft commonly 



saying laid, la Id. We passed thirty-seven days on 
this sea, and the sailors were surprised at the facility 
of our crossing, for they [usually] spend forty to fifty 
days on it, and forty days is the shortest time required 
under the mofl favourable circumstances. 

Thereafter we reached the land of Tawdlisl, it being 
their king who is called by that name. It is a vaft 
country and its king is a rival of the king of China. 
He possesses many junks, with which he makes war on 
the Chinese until they come to terms with him on 
certain conditions. The inhabitants of this land are 
idolaters; they are handsome men and closely resemble 
the Turks in figure. Their skin is moSt commonly 
of a reddish hue, and they are brave and warlike. 
Their women ride on horseback and are skilful archers, 
and fight exaftly like men- We put in at one of their 
ports, at the town of Kayliikari, which is among their 
fineft and larged cities. It was formerly the residence 
of the son of their king. When we anchored in the 
port their troops came down and the captain went 
ashore to them, taking with him a present for the 
prince. When he enquired of them about him, 
however, they told him that the prince’s father had 
appointed him governor of another di^lrift and had 
made his daughter, whose name was Urduj^, governor 
of this city.® 

The day following our arrival at the port of Kaylii- 
kari, this princess summoned the ship’s captain and 
clerk, the merchants and pilots, the commander of 
the footsoldiers, and the commanders of the archers 
to a banquet which she had prepared for them, accord- 
ing to her cu^om. The captain wished me to go 
with them, but 1 declined, because, being infidels, it 
is not lawful to eat their food. When they came into 
her presence she asked them if there was any one else 
of their company who had not come. The captain 
replied “ There is only one man left, a bakhshi (that 



is, a qidi, in their tongue), and he will not eat your 
food.” Thereupon she said “ Call him,” so her guards 
came [to me] along with the captain’s party and said 
“ Comply with the princess’s wish.” 1 went to her 
then, and found her sitting in full ftate. On my 
saluting her she replied to me in Turkish, and asked 
me from what land I had come. I said to her “ From 
the land of India.” “ From the pepper country 
she asked, and I replied “ Yes.” She questioned me 
about this land and events there, and when I had 
answered she said “ I muSt positively make an expedi- 
tion to it and take possession of it for myself, for the 
quantity of its riches and its troops attradfs me.” I 
replied “ Do so.” She ordered me to be given robes, 
two elephant loads of rice, two buffaloes, ten sheep, 
four pounds of syrup, and four martabdns (that is, 
large jars) filled with ginger, pepper, lemons, and 
mangoes, all of them salted, these being among the 
things prepared for sea vogayes. 

The captain told that this princess has in her army 
women, female servants and slave-girls, who fight like 
men. She goes out in person with her troops, male 
and female, makes raids on her enemies, takes part 
in the fighting, and engages in single combat with 
picked warriors. He told me too that during a fierce 
engagement with certain of her enemies, many of her 
troops were killed and they were all but defeated, 
when she dashed forward and broke through the ranks 
until she reached the king again^ whom she was 
fighting, and dealt him a mortal blow with her lance. 
He fell dead and his army took to flight. She brought 
back his head on the point of a spear, and his relatives 
redeemed it from her for a large sum of money. When 
she returned to her father he gave her this town, 
which had formerly been in her brother’s hands. 
The captain told me also that she is sought in marriage 
by various princes, but she says ” I shall marry none 



but him who fights and overcomes me in single com- 
bat,” and they avoid fighting with her for fear of the 
disgrace [that would attach to them] if she overcame 

We then left the land of Tawalisf and after seventeen 
days at sea with a favouring wind, sailing with maximum 
speed and ease, reached the land of China. 



The land of China is of vaft extent, and abounding 
in produce, fruits, grain, gold and silver. In this 
respeft there is no country in the world that can rival 
it. It is traversed by the river called the “ Water 
of Life,” which rises in some mountains, called the 
“ Mountain of Apes,” near the city of Khin-Biliq 
[Peking] and flows through the centre of China for 
the space of six months’ journey, until finally it reaches 
Sin as-Sin [Canton].^ It is bordered by villages, 
fields, fruit gardens, and bazaars, juil like the Egyptian 
Nile, only that [the country through which runs] this 
river is even more richly cultivated and populous, 
and there are many waterwheels on it. In the land 
of China there is abundant sugar-cane, equal, nay 
superior, in quality to that of Egypt, as well as grapes 
and plums. I used to think that the ‘Othmdnl plums 
of Damascus had no equal, until I saw the plums in 
China. It has wonderful melons too, like those of 
Khwirizm and Isfahan. All the fruits which we have 
in our country are to be found there, either much the 
same or of better quality. Wheat is very abundant 
in China, indeed better wheat I have never seen, and 
the same may be said of their lentils and chick-peas. 

The Chinese pottery [porcelain] is manufadlured 
only in the towns of Za^iin and Sin-kaUn. It is 
made of the soil of some mountains in that di^lrift, 
which takes fire like charcoal, as we shall relate sub- 
sequently. They mix this with some Clones which 
they have, burn the whole for three days, then pour 
water over it. This gives a kind of clay which they 


cause to ferment. The beft quality of [porcelain is 
made from] clay that has fermented for a complete 
month, but no more, the poorer quality [from clay] 
that has fermented for ten days. The price of this 
porcelain there is the same as, or even less than, that 
of ordinary pottery in our country. It is exported to 
India and other countries, even reaching as far as 
our own lands in the Weft, and it is the fineft of all 
makes of pottery. 

The hens and cocks in China are very big indeed, 
bigger than geese in our country, and hens’ eggs there 
are bigger than our goose eggs. On the other hand 
their geese are not at all large.® We bought a hen 
once and set about cooking it, but it was too big for 
one pot, so we put it in two. Cocks over there are 
about the size of oftriches; often a cock will shed its 
feathers and [nothing but] a great red body remains. 
The firft time I saw a Chinese cock was in the city 
of Kawlam. I took it for an oftrich and was amazed 
at it, but its owner told me that in China there were 
some even bigger than that, and when I got to China 
I saw for myself the truth of what he had told me 
about them. 

The Chinese themselves are infidels, who worship 
idols and burn their dead like the Hindus.® The 
king of China is a Tatar, one of the descendants of 
Tinkiz [Chingiz] Khin. In every Chinese city there 
is a quarter for Muslims in which they live by them- 
selves, and in which they have mosques both for the 
Friday services and for other religious purposes. The 
Muslims are honoured and respefted. The Chinese 
infidels eat the flesh of swine and dogs, and sell it 
in their markets. They are wealthy folk and well-to- 
do, but they make no display either in their food or 
their clothes. You will see one of their principal 
merchants, a man so rich that his wealth cannot be 
counted, wearing a coarse cotton tunic. But there is 



one thing that the Chinese take a pride in, that is, 
gold and silver plate. Every one of them carries a 
^ick, on which they lean in walking, and which they 
call “ the third leg.” Silk is very plentiful among 
them, because the silk-worm attaches itself to fruits 
and feeds on them without requiring much care. For 
that reason it is so common to be worn by even the 
very poorest there. Were it not for the merchants it 
would have no value at all, for a single piece of cotton 
cloth is sold in their country for the price of many 
pieces of silk. It is customary amongst them for a 
merchant to ca^ what gold and silver he has into 
ingots, each weighing a hundredweight or more or 
less, and to put those ingots above the door of his 

The Chinese use neither [gold] dinars nor [silver] 
dirhams in their commerce. All the gold and silver 
that comes into their country is ca^ by them into 
ingots, as we have described. Their buying and 
selling is carried on exclusively by means of pieces of 
paper, each of the size of the palm of the hand, and 
Clamped with the sultan’s seal. Twenty-five of these 
pieces of paper are called a bdlisht^ which takes the 
place of the dinar with us [as the unit of currency].* 
When these notes become torn by handling, one 
takes them to an office corresponding to our mint, 
and receives their equivalent in new notes on delivering 
up the old ones. This transaflion is made without 
charge and involves no expense,® for those who have 
the duty of making the notes receive regular salaries 
from the sultan. Indeed the direftion of that office 
is given to one of their principal amirs. If anyone 
goes to the bazaar with a silver dirham or a dinar, 
intending to buy something, no one will accept it 
from him or pay any attention to him until he changes 
if for hdlishty and with that he may buy what he will. 

All the inhabitants of China and of Cathay* use in 



place of charcoal a kind of lumpy earth found in their 
country. It resembles our fuller’s earth, and its 
colour too is the colour of fuller’s earth. Elephants 
[are used to] carry loads of it. They break it up into 
pieces about the size of pieces of charcoal with us, 
and set it on fire and it burns like charcoal, only giving 
out more heat than a charcoal fire. When it is reduced 
to cinders, they knead it with water, dry it, and use 
it again for cooking, and so on over and over again 
until it is entirely consumed. It is from this clay 
that they make the Chinese porcelain ware, after 
adding to it some other ^ones, as we have related.^ 
The Chinese are of all peoples the moft skilful in 
the arts and possessed of the greatest ma^ery of them. 
This charafteri^tic of theirs is well known, and has 
frequently been described at length in the works of 
various writers. In regard to portraiture there is 
none, whether Greek or any other, who can match 
them in precision, for in this art they show a marvel- 
lous talent. I myself saw an extraordinary example 
of this gift of theirs. I never returned to any of their 
cities after I had visited it a firft time without finding 
my portrait and the portraits of my companions drawn 
on the walls and on sheets of paper exhibited in the 
bazaars. When I visited the sultan’s city I passed 
with my companions through the painters’ bazaar on 
my way to the sultan’s palace. We were dressed 
after the ‘Iriqf fashion. On returning from the 
palace in the evening, I passed through the same 
bazaar, and saw my portrait and those of my com- 
panions drawn on a sheet of paper which they had 
affixed to the wall. Each of us set to examining the 
other’s portrait [and found that] the likeness was 
perfeft in every respeft. I was told that the sultan 
had ordered them to do this, and that they had come 
to the palace while we were there and had been ob- 
serving us and drawing our portraits without our 



noticing it. This is a cuilom of theirs, I mean making 
portraits of all who pass through their country. In 
faft they have brought this to such perfedtion that if 
a stranger commits any offence that obliges him to 
flee from China, they send his portrait far and wide. 
A search is then made for him and wheresoever the 
[person bearing a] resemblance to that portrait is 
found he is arredled. 

When a Muhammadan merchant enters any town 
in China, he is given the choice between flaying with 
some specified merchant among the Muslims domiciled 
there, or going to a hostelry. If he chooses to ilay 
with the merchant, his money is taken into cudlody 
and put under the charge of the resident merchant. 
The latter then pays from it all his expenses with 
honefty and charity. When the visitor wishes to 
depart, his money is examined, and if any of it is 
found to be missing, the resident merchant who was 
put in charge of it is obliged to make good the deficit. 
If the visitor chooses to go to the ho^lelry, his property 
is deposited under the charge of the keeper of the 
hoftelry. The keeper buys for him whatever he 
desires and presents him with an account. If he 
desires to take a concubine, the keeper purchases a 
slave-girl for him and lodges him in an apartment 
opening out of the hofkelry, and purveys for them 
both. Slave-girls fetch a low price; yet all the Chinese 
sell their sons and daughters, and consider it no 
disgrace. They are not compelled, however, to travel 
with those who buy them, nor on the other hand, 
are they hindered from going if they choose to do so. 
In the same way, if a stranger desires to marry, marry 
he may; but as for spending his money in debauchery, 
no, that he may not do. They say “We will not 
have it noised about amongif Muslims that their people 
wafle their sub^ance in our country, because it is aland 
of riotous living and [women of] surpassing beauty.” 



China is the safest and be^l regulated of countries 
for a traveller. A man may go by himself a nine 
months’ journey, carrying with him large sums of 
money, without any fear on that account. The system 
by which they ensure his safety is as follows. At 
every poft-^lation in their country they have a hoftelry 
controlled by an officer, who is Rationed there with 
a company of horsemen and footsoldiers. After 
sunset or later in the evening the officer visits the 
hostelry with his clerk, regifters the names of all 
travellers staying there for the night, seals up the li^f, 
and locks them into the hostelry. After sunrise he 
returns with his clerk, calls each person by name, and 
writes a detailed description of them on the lift. He 
then sends a man with them to condudl them to the 
next poft-ftation and bring back a clearance certificate 
from the controller there to the effeft that all these 
persons have arrived at that ftation. If the guide 
does not produce this document, he is held responsible 
for them. This is the praftice at every ftation in 
their country from Sin as-Sln to Khan-Baliq. In 
these hoftelries there is everything that the traveller 
requires in the way of provisions, especially fowls and 
geese. Sheep on the other hand, are scarce with 

To return to the account of our journey. The 
firft city which we reached after our sea voyage was 
the city of Zaytdn. [Now although zayt^n means 
“ olives ”] there are no olives in this city, nor indeed 
in all the lands of the Chinese nor in India; it is simply 
a name which has been given to the place.® Zaytdn 
is an immense city. In it are woven the damask silk 
and satin fabrics which go by its name,® and which 
are superior to the fabrics of Khansa and Khan-Baliq. 
The port of Zaytdn is one of the largeft in the world, 
or perhaps the very largeft. I saw in it about a 
hundred large junks; as for small junks, they could 



not be counted for multitude. It is formed by a 
large inlet of the sea which penetrates the land to the 
point where it unites with the great river. In this 
city, as in all Chinese towns, a man will have a fruit- 
garden and a field with his house set in the middle 
of it, ju^l as in the town of Sijilmasa in our own 
country.*® For this reason their towns are extensive. 
The Muslims live in a town apart from the others. 

On the day that I reached Zaytiin I saw there the 
amir who had come to India as an envoy with the 
present [to the sultan], and who afterwards travelled 
with our party and was shipwrecked on the junk. 
He greeted me, and introduced me to the controller 
of the douane and saw that I was given good apart- 
ments [there].** I received visits from the qadi of 
the Muslims, the shaykh al-Isldm, and the principal 
merchants. Among^ the latter was Sharaf ad-Dfn of 
Tabriz, one of the merchants from whom I had 
borrowed at the time of my arrival in India, and the 
one who had treated me mo 5 f fairly. He knew the 
Koran by heart and used to recite it constantly. These 
merchants, living as they do in a land of infidels, are 
overjoyed when a Muslim comes to them. They say 
“ He has come from the land of Islim,” and they 
make him the recipient of the tithes on their properties, 
so that he becomes as rich as themselves.*** There 
was living at Zaytiin, amongSt other eminent shaykhs, 
Burhin ad-Din of Kdzariin, who has a hermitage out- 
side the town, and it is to him that the merchants pay 
the sums they vow to Shaykh Abii Ishiq of Kdzariin 
[see p. 97]. 

When the controller of the douane learned my Slory 
he wrote to the Qdn,*® who is their Emperor, to inform 
him of my arrival on a mission from the king of India. 
I asked him to send with me someone to conduft me 
to the didlrift of Sfn [Sin as-Sfn], which they call 
Sin-kalin,*^ so that I might see that didlriA, which is 



in his province, in the interval before the arrival of 
the Qdn’s reply. He granted my request, and sent 
one of his officers to condufl me. 1 sailed up the 
river on a vessel resembling the war galleys in our 
country, except that in this the rowers plied their oars 
landing upright, their place being in the centre of 
the vessel,^® while the passengers were at the forepart 
and the ftern. They spread over the ship awnings 
made from a plant which grows in their country, 
resembling but different from flax, and finer than 
hemp [perhaps grass-cloth]. We sailed up this river 
for twenty-seven days.“ Every day we used to tie 
up about noon by a village where we could buy what 
we needed and pray the noon prayers, then in the 
evenings we went ashore at another village and so 
on, until we reached the city of Sln-kalin or Sin as-Sin. 
Porcelain is manufadlured there as well as at Zaytdn, 
and hereabouts the river of the “ Water of Life ” 
flows into the sea, so they call the place “ The Meeting 
of the Waters.” Sin-kaldn is a city of the fir^l rank, 
in regard to size and the quality of its bazaars. One 
of the largeil of these is the porcelain bazaar, from 
which porcelain is exported to all parts of China, to 
India, and to Yemen. In the centre of this city there 
is an enormous temple with nine portals^” inside each 
of which there is a portico with benches where the 
inmates of the temple sit. Between the second and 
third portals there is a place containing chambers, 
which are occupied by the blind and crippled. Each 
of the occupants receives subsidfence and clothing from 
the endowment of the temple. There are similar 
edlablishments between all the portals. In the interior 
there is a hospital for the sick and a kitchen for cooking 
food, and it has a dlaff of doftors and servitors. I was 
told that aged persons who are incapacitated from 
gaining their livelihood receive subsidlence and clothing 
at this temple, likewise orphans and deftitute widows. 

289 w 


This temple was built by one of their kings, who 
moreover endowed it with [the revenues of] this city 
and the villages and fruit gardens belonging to it. 
The portrait of this king is painted in the temple we 
have described, and they worship it. 

In one of the quarters of this city is the Muham- 
madan town, where the Muslims have their cathedral 
mosque, hospice and bazaar. 7'hey have also a qidi 
and a shaykh, for in every one of the cities of China 
there muS always be a Shaykh al-Isldm, to whom all 
matters concerning the Muslims are referred \i.e. who 
afts as intermediary between the government and the 
Muslim community], and a qddi to decide legal cases 
between them. My quarters were in the house of 
Awhad ad-Din of Sinjar, one of their principal men, 
of excellent charafter and immensely wealthy. I 
stayed with him for fourteen days, during which gifts 
were poured upon me one after the other from the 
qddf and other Muslims. Every day they made a 
new entertainment, to which they came in beautifully- 
appointed boats, bringing musicians with them. 
Beyond the city of Sin-kalan there is no other city, 
either infidel or Muslim. It is sixty days’ journey, 
so I was told, from there to the Rampart of Gog and 
Magog, the intervening territory being occupied by 
nomadic infidels, who eat men when they get hold 
of them.^® On that account no one ever crosses their 
country or visits it, and I did not find in Sin-kaldn 
anyone who had himself seen the Rampart or even 
seen anyone who had seen it. 

A few days after my return to Zaytdn, the Qdn’s 
order arrived with indlrudlions to convey me to his 
capital with all honour and dignity, by water if I 
preferred, otherwise by land. I chose to sail up the 
river, so they made ready for me a fine vessel of the 
sort that is designed for the use of governors. The 
governor sent his dlaff with us, and he, and likewise 



the qidl and the Muslim merchants, sent us large 
quantities of provisions. We travelled as ftate-gueSls, 
eating our midday meal at one village, and our evening 
meal at another. After ten days’ journey we reached 
Qanjanfd, a large and beautiful city set in a broad 
plain and surrounded by fruit-gardens,^® which gave 
the place the look of the Ghdta at Damascus.^® On 
our arrival, we were met outside the town by the 
qadi, the Shaykh al-Isl4m, and the merchants, with 
ftandards, drums, trumpets, and bugles, and musicians. 
They brought horses for us, so we rode in on horse- 
back while they walked on foot before us. No one 
rode along with us but the qadi and the Shaykh 
al-Islam. The governor of the city with his llaff 
also came out [to meet us], for the sultan’s gueft is 
held in very high honour by them, and so we entered 
the city. It has four walls; between the firft and 
second live the sultan’s slaves, who are some of them 
day-guards and others night-guards of the city; between 
the second and third are the quarters of the mounted 
troops and the general who governs the city; within 
the third wall live the Muslims (it was here that we 
lodged at the house of their shaykh), and within the 
fourth is the Chinese quarter, which is the largeft of 
these four cities [in one]. The diftance separating 
each gate in this city from the next is three or four 
miles, and every inhabitant, as we have said, has his 
own orchard, house, and grounds. 

One day as I was ftaying at Qanjanfd, a very large 
vessel came in, belonging to one of their moft re- 
spedled doftors. I was asked if he might see me, 
and he was announced as “ MawUna [Our mafter 
i.e. The reverend] Qiwdm ad-Dln of Ceuta.” His 
name roused my intereft, and when he came in and 
we fell to conversation after the usual greetings, it 
ftruck me that I knew him. I kept looking at him 
intently, and at laft he said “ I see you are looking 



at me as if you knew me.” So I said to him “ Where 
do you come from ?’’ He replied “ From Ceuta.” 
“ And I ” said I “ from Tangier.” Whereupon he 
broke into fresh greetings to me, and wept until I 
wept in sympathy with him. I then said to him 
“ Did you go to India He replied “ Yes, I went 
to the capital, Delhi.” Then when he told me that, 
I remembered him and said “ Are you al-Bushri ?” 
and he replied “ Yes.” I remembered he had come 
to Delhi with his mother’s brother, Abu-’l-Qasim of 
Murcia, as a beardless youth and a very clever ^udent. 
I had spoken of him to the sultan of India, who gave 
him three thousand dinars and invited him to ftay 
at his court, but he refused, as he was set on going 
to China, where he prospered exceedingly, and ac- 
quired enormous wealth. He told me that he had 
about fifty white slaves and as many slave-girls, and 
presented me with two of each, along with many 
other gifts. I met his brother in after years in the 
Negrolands — ^what a di^ance lies between them ! 

I ^ayed at Qanjanfii for fifteen days and then 
continued my journey. The land of China, in spite 
of all that is agreeable in it, did not attraft me. On 
the contrary I was sorely grieved that heathendom 
had so ^rong a hold over it. Whenever I went out 
of my house I used to see any number of revolting 
things, and that digressed me so much that I used 
to keep indoors and go out only in case of necessity. 
When I met Muslims in China I always felt ju^ as 
though I were meeting my own faith and kin. So 
great was the kindness of this doftor al-Bushrf that 
when I left Qanjanfd he accompanied me for four 
days, until I reached the town of Baywam Qurid.®"^ 
This is a small town, inhabited by Chinese, a pro- 
portion of them being troops, the rest common people. 
The Muslim community there consi^s of four houses 
only, the inhabitants of which are agents of my learned 



friend. We put up at the house of one of them, and 
flayed with him for three days, after which I bade the 
doflor adieu and set out again. 

I sailed up the river with the usual routine, flopping 
for dinner at one village, and for supper at another. 
After seventeen days of this, we reached the city of 
Khansa [Hang-chow], which is the biggefl city I 
have ever seen on the face of the earth.®® It is so 
long that it takes three days to traverse in the ordinary 
routine of marches and halts. It is built after the 
Chinese fashion already described, each person, that 
is, having his own house and garden. It is divided 
into six cities, as we shall describe later. On our 
arrival a party came out to -meet us, coneifling of the 
qadi and the Shaykh al-Isldm of the city, and the 
family of ‘Othmdn ibn Affdn of Egypt, who are the 
principal Muslim residents there, accompanied by 
a white flag, drums, bugles, and trumpets. The 
governor of the city also came out [to meet us] with 
his escort, and so we entered the town. 

Khansd consifls of six cities, each with its own wall, 
and an outer wall surrounding the whole. In the firfl 
city are the quarters of the city guards and their com- 
mander; I was told by the qddi and others that they 
muflered twelve thousand men on the regifler of 
troops. We passed the firfl night after our entry in 
the house of their commander. On the second day 
we entered the second city through a gate called the 
Jews’ Gate. In this city live the Jews, Chriflians, 
and sun-worshipping Turks, a large number in all; 
its governor is a Chinese and we passed the second 
night in his house. On the third day we entered 
the third city, and this is inhabited by the Muslims. 
Theirs is a fine city, and their bazaars are arranged 
jufl as they are in Islamic countries ; they have mosques 
in it and muezzins — we heard them calling to the 
noon prayers as we entered. We flayed here in the 



mansion of the family of ‘Othman ibn ‘Affan of Egypt. 
He was a wealthy merchant, who conceived a liking 
for this city and made his home in it, so that it came 
be be called ‘Othmaniya after him, and he transmitted 
to his pofterity the influence and respeft which he 
enjoyed there. It was he who built the cathedral 
mosque of Khansd, and endowed it with large bene- 
fadlions. The number of Muslims in this city is 
very large, and our ^lay with them lafted fifteen days. 
Every day and night we were the guests at a new 
entertainment, and they continuously provided the 
moil sumptuous meats, and went out with us every 
day on pleasure rides into different quarters of the 

One day they rode out with me and we entered the 
fourth city, which is the seat of government, and in 
which the chief governor Qurtay resides. When we 
entered the gate leading to it, my companions were 
separated from me, and I was found by the wazfr, 
who condufted me to the palace of the chief governor 
Qurtay. It was on this occasion that he took from 
me the mantle which the saint Jaldl ad-Dfn of Shfrdz 
had given me, as I have already related [p. 269]. 
No one resides in this city, which is the moil beautiful 
of the six, except the sultan’s slaves and servants. 
It is traversed by three ilreams, one of them being 
a canal taken off from the great river, which is used 
by small boats bringing provisions and coal to the 
town, and there are pleasure boats on it as well. The 
citadel®® lies in the centre of this city. It is of enor- 
mous size, and the government house ilands in the 
middle of it, surrounded by [the court of] the citadel 
on all sides- Within it there are arcades, in which 
sit workmen making rich garments and weapons. 
The amir Qurtay told me that there were sixteen 
hundred mafter-workmen there, each with three or 
four apprentices working under him. They are all 



without exception the slaves of the Qan; they have 
chains on their feet, and they live outside the fortress. 
They are permitted to go out to the bazaars in the 
city, but may not go beyond its gate. They are 
passed in review before the governor every day, a 
hundred at a time, and if any one of them is missing, 
his commander is held responsible for him. Their 
custom is that when one of them has served for ten 
years, he is freed from his chains and given the choice 
between flaying in service, without chains, or going 
wherever he will within the Qdn’s dominions, but 
not outside them. When he reaches the age of fifty 
he is exempted from work and maintained [by the 
^late]. In the same way anyone else who has attained 
this age or thereabouts is maintained.®* Anyone 
who reaches the age of sixty is regarded by them as 
a child, and legal penalties cease to be applicable to 
him. Old men in China are greatly respefted, and 
each one of them is called Atd, which means 
“ Father.” ^ 

The amir Qurtay is the principal amir in China.®® 
He entertained us in his palace, and prepared a banquet 
(their name for it is towa)-,^ which was attended by 
the principal men of the city. He had Muslim cooks 
brought, who slaughtered the animals [in accordance 
with Muslim ritual, so that the food should be cere- 
monially clean] and cooked the food. This amir, in 
spite of his exalted rank, presented the dishes to us 
with his own hand, and with his own hand carved 
the meat. We Sayed with him as his guefts for three 
days. He sent his son with us to the canal, where 
we went on board a ship resembling a fire-ship, and 
the amir’s son went on another along with musicians 
and singers. They sang in Chinese, Arabic, and 
Persian. The amir’s son was a great admirer of 
Persian melody, and when they sang a certain Persian 
poem he commanded them to repeat it over and over 



again, until I learned it from them by heart. It has 
a pleasant lilt, and goes like this : 

Td dii bimihnat dddim 
dai hahr-i fikr uftddim 
Chun dar namdz iSiddim 
qavi bimihrdb andarim?^ 

On this canal there was assembled a large crowd in 
ships with brightly-coloured sails and silk awnings, 
and their ships too were admirably painted. They 
began a mimic battle and bombarded each other with 
oranges and lemons We returned in the evening 
to the amir’s palace, and spent the night there. The 
musicians were there, and sang all kinds of pleasing 

That same night a certain juggler, one of the Qin’s 
slaves, was there. The amir said to him “ Show us 
some of your feats.” So he took a wooden ball with 
holes in which there were long leather thongs, and 
threw it into the air. It rose right out of our sight, 
for we were sitting in the middle of the palace court, 
during the season of intense heat. When nothing, 
but a short piece of the cord remained in his hand, 
he ordered one of his apprentices to go up the rope, 
which he did until he too disappeared from our sight. 
The juggler called him three times without receiving 
any reply, so he took a knife in his hand, as if he were 
enraged, and climbed up the rope imtil he disappeared 
as well. The next thing was that he threw the boy’s 
hand to the ground, and then threw down his foot, 
followed by his other hand, then his other foot, then 
his trunk, and finally his head. After that he came 
down himself puffing and blowing, with his clothes 
all smeared with blood, and kissed the ground in front 
^ the ^Ir, saying something to him in Chinese. 
The amir gave him some order, and thereupon he took 
the boy’s limbs, placed them each touching the other. 


and gave him a kick, and up he rose as sound as ever. 

I was amazed and took palpitation of the heart, ju^ 
as had happened to me when I saw something similar 
at the court of the king of India, so they admini^ered 
some potion to me which removed my distress. The 
qddi Afkhar ad-Din was sitting beside me, and he 
said to me : “ By God, there was no climbing or coming 
down or cutting up of limbs at all; the whole thing 
is ju^l hocus-pocus.” 

On the following day we entered the fifth and 
larged city, which is inhabited by the common folk. 
Its bazaars are good and contain very skilftil artificers ; 
it is there that the fabrics which take their name from 
this town are woven. "We passed a night in this city 
as the gue^s of its governor, and on the morrow entered 
the sixth city through a gate called Boatmen’s gate. 
This sixth city, which lies on the banks of the great 
river, is inhabited by seamen, fishermen, caulkers, and 
carpenters, along with archers and footsoldiers, all of 
them being slaves of the sultan. No other persons 
live [in this town] with them, and their numbers are 
very great. We spent a night there as the guests of 
its governor. The amir Qurtay equipped a vessel 
for us with all that was needed in the way of provisions, 
etc., and sent his suite with us to arrange for our 
hospitable reception [on the journey]. So we left this 
city, which is the laft of the provinces of China [proper], 
and entered the land of Khitd [Cathay]. 

Cathay is the bell cultivated country in the world. 
There is not a spot in the whole extent of it that is 
not brought under cultivation. The reason is that 
if any part is left uncultivated its inhabitants or their 
neighbours are assessed for the land-tax due thereon. 
Fruit-gardens, villages, and fields extend along both 
banks of this river without interruption from the city 
of Khansd to the city of Khdn-Bdliq [Peking], which 
is a space of sixty-four days’ journey. There are no 



Muslims to be found in these di^ridls, except casual 
travellers, since the country is not suitable for [their] 
permanent residence, and there is no large city in it, 
only villages and wide spaces,^ covered with corn, 
fruit-trees, and sugarcane. I have never seen any- 
thing in the world like it, except a space of four days’ 
journey between Anbdr and ‘Ana [in ‘Irdq; see 
p. 303]. We used to disembark every night and 
^tay in the villages in order to receive our provisions 
as gueils of the sultan. 

jThus we completed our journey to the city of Khin- 
B 41 iq, also called Khaniqd,®® the capital of the Qan — 
he being their emperor, whose dominion extends over 
the countries of China and Cathay. When we arrived 
there we moored at a distance of ten miles from the 
city, as is their custom, and a written report of our 
arrival was sent to the admirals, who gave us per- 
mission to enter the port of the city. Having done 
so, we disembarked and entered the town, which is 
one of the largeft towns in the world. It is not laid 
out, however, after the Chinese fashion, with gardens 
inside the city, but is juft like the cities in other coun- 
tries with gardens outside the walls. The sultan’s 
city lies in the centre, like a citadel, as we shall relate. 
I ftayed with Shaykh Burhan ad-Din of Sigharj — 
the same man to whom the king of India sent 40,000 
dinars with an invitation to him [to come to India], 
and who took the money and paid his debts with them, 
but reused to go to the king and set out [inftead] 
for China [see above p. 202]. The Qin set him at 
the head of all the Muslims who live in his territories, 
and gave him the title of Sadr al-Jihdn. The word 
qdn is a term applied by them to every person who 
exercises the sovereignty over [all] the provinces, juft 
as every ruler of the country of Ldr is called atdbeg?^ 
His name is Pdshiy,®® and there is no infidel on the 
face of the earth who owns an empire greater than his. 



His palace lies in the centre of the [inner] city, which is 
appropriated to his residence. The greater part of it is 
conifrufted of carved wood, and it is excellently planned. 

When we reached the capital Khan-Bdliq, we found 
that the Qin was absent from it at that time, as he 
had gone out to fight his cousin Firiiz, who had 
rebelled againsT: him in the di^lrift of Qaraqorum and 
Bish-Bdligh in Cathay.®® The distance between these 
places and the capital is a three months’ journey 
through cultivated diftridls. After his departure the 
majority of his amirs threw off their allegiance to him 
and agreed to depose him because he had departed 
from the precepts of the Yasdq^ that is, the precepts 
which were laid down by their ancestor Tinkiz 
[Chingiz] Khan, who laid wafte the lands of Islam. 
They went over to his rebel nephew and wrote to the 
Qan to the eflrefl: that he should abdicate and retain 
the city of Khansa as an appanage. He refused to 
do so, fought them, and was defeated and killed. 

It was a few days after our arrival at his capital 
that the news of this was received. The city was 
decorated; trumpets, bugles and drums were played, 
and games and entertainments held for the space of 
a month. Thereafter the slain Q4n was brought, 
with about a hundred other slain, his cousins, relatives, 
and intimates. A great naus, that is, a subterranean 
chamber, was dug for him and richly furnished. The 
Q4n was laid in it with his weapons, and all the gold 
and silver plate from his palace was deposited in it 
with him. With him also were put four slayegirls 
and six of the principal mamliiks, who carried drinking 
vessels, then the door of the chamber was built up and 
the whole thing covered over with earth until it reached 
the size of a large mound. After that they brought 
four horses and drove then about the Qdn’s grave 
until they flopped [from exhaustion], then they set 
up a wooden eredtion over the grave and suspended 



the horses on it, having driven a piece of wood 
through each horse from tail to mouth.®'* The above- 
mentioned relatives of the Qan were also placed in 
subterranean chambers along with their weapons and 
house utensils, and they impaled over the tombs of the 
principal members, of whom there were ten, three horses 
each, and over the tombs of the reil one horse each. 

This day was observed as a solemn holiday, and 
not one person was absent from the ceremony, men 
or women, Muslim or heathen. They were all 
dressed in mourning robes, which are white capes in 
the case of the infidels and [long] white garments in 
the case of the Muslims. The Qdn’s khatdns and 
courtiers lived in tents near his grave for forty days, 
some even more than that, up to a year; and a bazaar 
was established there to supply the food and other 
things which they required. Such practices as these 
are observed, so far as I can record, by no other people 
in these days. The heathen Indians and Chinese, on 
the other hand, burn their dead; other people do 
indeed bury the dead man, but they do not put anyone 
in with him. However, I have been told by trust- 
worthy persons in the Negrolands that the heathen 
there, when their king died, used to make a nd'^s 
for him and put in with him some of his courtiers 
and servants, along with thirty of the sons and daughters 
of their principal families, firSt breaking their hands and 
feet, and they put in drinking vessels along with them. 

^ When the ydn was slain, as we have related, and 
his nephew Flriiz obtained the sovereign power, he 
chose to make his capital at the city of Qaraqorum, 
on account of its proximity to the territories of his 
cousins, the kings of Turki^ldn and Transoxania.®® 
Afterwards several of the amirs who were not present 
when the Qan was killed revolted againft him and 
intercepted communications and the disorders grew 
to serious proportions. 



When the revolt broke out and the flames of disorder 
were kindled, Shaykh Burhan ad-Dln and others 
advised me to return to [Southern] China before the 
difturbances became chronic. They presented them- 
selves with me to the representatives of Sultan Firiiz, 
who sent three of his suite to escort me and wrote 
orders for my treatment as a gueft [on the journey]. 
We travelled down the river to Khansa, and thence 
to Qanjanfd and Zaytiin, and on reaching the la^l 
I found the junks ready to sail for India. Amongst 
them was a junk belonging to al-Malik az-Zihir, the 
ruler of Jdwa [Sumatra], the crew of which were 
Muslims. His agent knew me and was delighted at 
my arrival. We sailed with fair winds for ten days, 
but as we approached the land of Tawdlisl, the wind 
changed, the sky darkened, and it rained heavily. We 
passed ten days without seeing the sun, and then 
entered a sea which we did not know. The crew of 
the junk became alarmed and wished to return to 
China, but that was out of the question. We passed 
forty-two days not knowing in what sea we were. 

On the forty-third day there was visible to us at 
early dawn a mountain, projedling from the sea at 
a distance of about twenty miles from us, and the wind 
was carrying us straight towards it. The sailors were 
puzzled and said “We are nowhere near land, and there 
is no record of a mountain in the sea. If the wind 
drives us on it we are loft.” So all on board began 
to humble themselves and concentrate their thoughts 
on God, and renew their repentance. We implored 



God in prayer and sought the mediation of his prophet 
[Muhammad] — on whom be the Blessing and Peace 
of God ; the merchants vowed to diftribute large sums 
in alms, and I wrote down their vows for them in 
a register with my own hand. The wind calmed a 
little, and later on when the sun rose we saw that the 
mountain had risen into the air, and that daylight 
was visible between it and the sea. We were amazed 
at this, and I saw the crew weeping, and taking fare- 
well of one another. So I said “ What is the matter 
with you ?” They replied “ What we thought was 
a mountain is the Rukh, and if it sees us it will make 
an end of us.”^ We were at that moment less than 
ten miles away from it. JuSt then God of His mercy 
sent us a favourable wind, which turned us in another 
diredlion, so that we did not see it and could not 
learn its true shape. 

Two months after this we reached Jdwa and landed 
at [the town of] Sumutra. We found its sultan 
al-Malik az-Zdhir juft returned from a raid, with a 
large train of captives. He sent me two girls and 
two boys, and lodged me in the usual manner. I 
was present at the marriage of his son to the daughter 
of the sultan’s brother. After two months* ftay on 
this island I took a passage on a junk. The sultan 
on bidding me farewell, gave me a great deal of aloes- 
wood, camphor, cloves, and sandalwood. I left him 
and set sail, and after forty days reached Kawlam 
[Quilon]. Here I disembarked and put up in 
proximity to the qadi of the Muslims; this was in 
Ramadan [January 1347] and I attended the feftival 
prayer in the cathedral mosque there. From Kawlam 
we went on to Calicdt, and ftayed there for some 
days. I intended to return to Delhi, but on second 
thoughts I had some fears about doing so, so I re- 
embarked and twenty-eight days later I arrived at 
Dhafdri (p. 1 1 3), that being in Muharram of the 



year [seven hundred and] fortyeight [end of April 

1347 ]- 

Thereafter I took ship and arrived at Mascat, a 
small town in which there is a great abundance of the 
fish called qulh al-tnas (p. 242). Thence we sailed 
to the ports of Qurayyat, Shabba, Kalba,^ and Qalhit, 
which has been mentioned before [p. 1 18]. All these 
towns form part of the province of Hormuz, though 
they are reckoned to be in the diftridl of ‘Omdn. 
We sailed on to Hormuz, and after spending three 
nights there, travelled by land to Kawrdftdn, Lar, and 
Khunjubdl — all of which have been mentioned before, 
(p. 120) — thence to Karzi,® where we stayed for three 
nights, and so through a number of other towns and 
villages to the city of Shiraz. From Shfrdz I travelled 
to Isfahdn, and thence through Tudlar [Shushtar] to 
Basra, where I visited the sacred tombs which are 
there, and so through Mash-had ‘All [Najaf] and 
Hilla to Baghddd, which I reached in Shawwdl of 
the year 48 [January 1348], I met there a man 
from Morocco, who informed me of the disaster at 
Tarifa, and of the capture of al-Khadrd [Algeciras] 
by the Chridlians* — ^may God repair the breach that 
Isldm has suffered thereby ! 

The sultan of Baghddd and of ‘Iraq at the time of 
my arrival at the date mentioned was Shaykh Hasan,® 
the cousin of the late Sultan Abii Sa'id by his father’s 
sidter. When Abd Sa'id died, he took possession 
of his kingdom in ‘Irdq, and married his widow 
Dilshdd, the daughter of Dimashq Khwdja, son of 
the amir Chdbdn, judl as Sultan Abd Sa'id had done 
in marrying Shaykh Hasan’s wife. Sultan Hasan 
was away from Baghddd at this time, on his way to 
Sultan Atdbeg Afrdsiydb, the ruler of the country 

After leaving Baghddd I travelled to the city of 
Anbdr, then successively to Hit, Haditha, and ‘Ana.® 



This diitrift is one of the richest and moft fertile in 
the world, and there are buildings all along the road 
between these points, so that one walks as it were 
through one [continuous] bazaar. We have already 
said that we have seen nothing to equal the country 
along the banks of the river of China, except this 
diSridl. I came next to the town of Rahba, which 
is the finest town in ‘Iraq, and the frontier town of 
Syria.'^ Thence we went on to as-Sukhna, a pretty 
town,® inhabited mainly by infidels, that is Chriltians. 
It is called as-Sukhna [“ the hot town ”] because of 
the heat of its water, and contains bathhouses for men 
and women. They draw their water by night and 
put it on the roofs to cool. Thereafter we journeyed 
to Tadmur [Palmyra], the city of the prophet Solomon, 
which was built for him by the jinn,® and thence to 
Damascus, which I thus revisited after twenty years’ 
absence. I had left a wife of mine there pregnant, 
and I learned while I was in India that she had borne 
a male child, whereupon I sent to the boy’s maternal 
grandfather, who belonged to Mikndsa [Mequinez] 
in Morocco, forty gold dinars in Indian money. When 
I arrived in Damascus on this occasion 1 had no 
thought but to enquire after my son. I went to the 
mosque, where by good fortune I found Ndr ad-Din 
as-Sakhdwi, the imim and principal [shaykh] of the 
Milikites. 1 greeted him but he did not recognize 
me, so 1 made myself known to him and asked him, 
about the boy. He replied “ He is dead these twelve 
years.” He told me that a scholar from Tangier 
was living in the Zihiriya academy, so I went to see 
him, to enquire after my father and relatives. I 
found him to be a venerable shaykh, and when I had 
greeted him and told him the name of my family he 
informed me that my father had died fifteen years 
before and that my mother was ilill alive. I remained 
at Damascus until the end of the year, though there 



was a great scarcity of provisions and bread rose to 
the price of seven ounces for a dirham nuqra [about 
5d.]. Their ounce equals four Moroccan ounces. 

On leaving Damascus I went to Aleppo, by way 
of Hims, Hamdh, Ma'arra, and Sarmin. It happened 
at this time that a certain darwish, known as the 
Principal Shaykh, who lived on a hill outside the town 
of ‘Ayntdb,“ where he used to be visited by the people 
in search of the blessings he conveyed, having one 
disciple attendant on him but [otherwise] a solitary 
and unmarried, said in one of his discourses : “ The 
Prophet — ^may God bless him and give him peace! — 
could not do without women, but I can do without 
them.” Evidence to that effeft was brought againSl 
him and proved before a qadi', and the case was 
referred to the commander-in-chief. The shaykh 
and his disciple, who had assented to his statement, 
were brought up [for examination]; the principal 
judges of the four rites decided on legal grounds 
that both should be punished by death, and they were 
duly executed. 

Early in June we heard at Aleppo that the plague 
had broken out at Gaza, and that the number of 
deaths there reached over a thousand a day. On 
travelling to Hims I found that the plague had broken 
out there : about three hundred persons died of it on 
the day that I arrived. So I went on to Damascus, 
and arrived there on a Thursday. The inhabitants 
had then been failing for three days; on the Friday 
they went out to the mosque of the Footprints, 
as we have related in the firft book, and God 
eased them of the plague [p. 68]. The number of 
deaths among them reached a maximum of 1,400 a 
day. Thereafter I journeyed to ‘Ajaliin and thence 
to Jerusalem, where I found that the ravages of the 
plague had ceased. We revisited Hebron, and thence 
went to Gaza, the greater part of which we found 

305 X 


deserted because of the number of those who died 
there of the plague. I was told by the qddl that the 
number of deaths there reached i,ioo a day. We 
continued our journey overland to Damietti, and on 
to Alexandria. Here we found that the plague was 
diminishing in intensity, though the number of deaths 
had previously reached a thousand and eighty a day. 
I then travelled to Cairo, where I was told that tne 
number of deaths during the epidemic rose to twenty- 
one thousand a day.^^ From Cairo I travelled 
through the Sa'ld [Upper Egypt] to ‘Aydhib, 
whence I took ship to Judda, and thence reached 
Mecca on 22nd Sha‘bdn of the year 49 [i6th 
November 1348]. 

After the pilgrimage of this year [28th Feb. — 2nd 
March 1349] I travelled with the Syrian caravan 
to Tayba [Madina], thence to Jerusalem, and back 
through Giaza to Cairo. Here we learned that through 
our mailer, the Commander of the Faithful, Abii 
Tndn (may God ilrengthen him 1 ), God had united 
the scattered forces of the House of Marin“ and 
healed by his blessing the weilern lands when they 
had all but succumbed. [We were told that] he had 
poured out his bounty upon great and small, and 
overwhelmed the whole nation by the torrent of his 
favours, so that all hearts were filled with the desire 
of ilanding at his gate and with the hope of kissing 
his ilirrup. Thereupon I decided to journey to his 
illuilrious capital, moved also by the longing called 
forth within me by memories of my home, by 
yearning for my family and friends, and by love of 
my country, which surpasses in my eyes all other 

I took ship on a small trading-vessel belonging to 
a Timisian in Safar of the year 50 [April-May 1 349], 
and travelled to Jerba, where I disembarked. The 
vessel went on to Tunis, and was captured by the 



enemy.^® From Jerba I went in a small boat to Qabis 
[Gabes], where I put up as the gue^l of the two 
illustrious brothers, Abii Marwan and Abu’l-Abbas, 
sons of Makki, the governors of Jerba and Gabes. 
I attended with them the feSlival of the birthday of 
the Prophet [12th Rabi I.=3ist May]. Thereafter 
I went by boat to Safaqus [Sfax] and continued by 
sea to Bulyina,^^ from which point I travelled on land 
in the company of the Arabs, and after some discom- 
forts reached the city of Tunis', at the time when it 
was being besieged by the Arabs. I Stayed at Tunis 
thirty-six days and then took ship with the Catalans. 
We reached the island of Sardaniya [Sardinia], one 
of the islands belonging to the ChriSlians, where there 
is a wonderful harbour, with great baulks of wood 
in a circle round it and an entrance like a gateway, 
which is opened only if they give permission.^ In 
the island there are fortified towns; we went into one 
of them, and [saw] in it a large number of bazaars. 
I made a vow to God to faSf for two successive months 
if He should deliver us from this island, because we 
found out that its inhabitants were proposing to pursue 
us when we left to take us captive. We then sailed 
away and ten days later reached the town of Tenes, 
then Mdziina, then Muftaghdnim [Mo^laganem], 
and so to Tilimsdn [Tlemsen]. I went to al-‘Ubbdd 
and visited [the tomb of] Shaykh Abii Madin.^® I 
left Tilimsdn by the Nadrfima road, then took the 
Akhandaqin road, and spent the night at the hermi- 
tage of Shaykh Ibrihim. We set out from there 
and when we were near Azghanghdn^'^ we were at- 
tacked by fifty men on foot and two horsemen. I 
had with me the pilgrim Ibn Qari'it of Tangier and 
his brother Muhammad, who afterwards perished as 
a martyr at sea. We resolved to make a fight for it 
and put up a flag, whereupon they made peace with 
us and we went with them, praise be to God. Thus 



we reached the town of Tdzd, where I learned the 
news of my mother’s death of the plague — may God 
Moil High have mercy on her. Then I set out 
from Tizd and arrived at the royal city of Fez on 
Friday, at the end of the month of Sha'bdn of the year 
750 [13th November 1349]. 

I presented myself before our moil noble mailer, 
the moil generous imdm, the Commander of the 
Faithful, al-Mutawakkil Ab\i ‘Ini.n — ^may God enlarge 
his greatness and humble his enemies. His dignity 
made me forget the dignity of the sultan of Triq, 
his beauty the beauty of the king of India, his fine 
qualities the noble charadler of the king of Yemen, 
his courage the courage of the king of the Turks, 
his clemency the clemency of the king of the Greeks, 
his devotion the devotion of the king of Turkiildn, 
and his knowledge the knowledge of the king of 
J 4 wa. I laid down the ilaflF of travel in his glorious 
land, having assured myself after unbiassed considera- 
tion that it is the beft of countries, for in it fruits 
are plentiful, and running water and nourishing food 
are never exhaufted. Few indeed are the lands which 
unite all these advantages, and well spoken are the 
poet’s words : 

Of all the lands the Weft b7 this token’s the beA : 

Here the full moon is spied and the sun speeds to reA. 

The dirhams of the Weft are small, but their utility 
is great. When you compare its prices with the prices 
of Egypt and Syria, you will see the truth of my 
contention, and realize the superiority of the Maghrib. 
For I assure you that mutton in Egypt is sold at 
eighteen ounces for a dirham nuqra^ which equals in 
value six dirhams of the Maghrib,^ whereas in the 
Maghrib meat is sold, when prices are high, at eighteen 
ounces for two dirhams, that is a third of a nuqra. 
As for melted butter, it is usually not to be found in 



Egypt at all. The kinds of things that the Egyptians 
eat along with their bread would not even be looked 
at in the Maghrib. They consist for the moft part 
of lentils and chickpeas, which they cook in enormous 
cauldrons, “ and on which they put oil of sesame; 
hasilld, a kind of peas which they cook and eat with 
olive oil; gherkins, which they cook and mix with 
curdled milk; purslane^® which they prepare in the 
same way; the buds of almond trees, which they cook 
and serve in curdled milk; and colocasia, which they 
cook. All these things are easily come by in the 
Maghrib, but God has enabled its inhabitants to 
dispense with them, by reason of the abundance of 
fleshmeats, melted butter, fresh butter, honey, and 
other produdts. As for green vegetables, they are 
the rare^ of things in Egypt, and moft of their fruit 
has to be brought from Syria. Grapes, when they 
are cheap, are sold among^ them at a dirham nugra 
for three of their pounds, their pound being twelve 

As for Syria, fruits are indeed plentiful there, but 
in the Maghrib they are cheaper. Grapes are sold 
there at the rate of one of their pounds for a dirham 
nu^a (their pound is three Maghrib! pounds), and 
when their price is low, two pounds for a dirham 
nuqra. Pomegranates and quinces are sold at eight 
fals [coppers] apiece, which equals a dirham of our 
money. As for vegetables the quantity sold for a 
dirham nuqra is less than that sold for a small dirham 
in our country. Meat is sold there at the rate of one 
Syrian pound for two and a half dirhams nuqra. If 
you consider all this, it will be clear to you that the 
lands of the Maghrib are the cheapest in co^ of living, 
the mo^l abundant in good things, and bleft with the 
greateS share of material comforts and advantages. 
Moreover, God has augmented the honour and excel- 
lence of the Maghrib by the imdmate of our ma^er, 



the Commander of the Faithful, who has spread the 
shelter of security throughout its territories and made 
the sun of equity to rise within its borders, who has 
caused the clouds of beneficence to shed their rain 
upon its dwellers in country and town, who has purified 
it from evildoers, and established it in the ways alike 
of worldly prosperity and of religious observance. 

H N V M 


After I had been privileged to observe this noble 
maje^ly and to share in the all-embracing bounty of 
his beneficence, I set out to visit the tomb of my 
mother. I arrived at my home town of Tangier and 
visited her, and went on to the town of Sabta [Ceuta], 
where I Stayed for some months. While I was there 
I suffered from an illness for three months, but after- 
wards God restored me to health. I then proposed 
to take part in jihad and the defence of the frontier, 
so 1 crossed the sea from Ceuta in a barque belonging 
to the people of Asfld [Arzila], and reached the land 
of Andalusia (may Giod Almighty guard her!) where 
the reward of the dweller is abundant and a recom- 
pense is laid up for the settler and visitor. This was 
after the death of the Christian tyrant Adfdnus 
[Alphonso XL] and his ten-months’ siege of the Jebel 
[Gibraltar], when he thought that he would capture 
all that the Muslims Still retain of Andalusia; but 
God took him whence he did not reckon, and he, 
who of all men Stood in the moSt mortal terror of the 
plague, died of it.^ The firSt part of Andalusia that 
I saw was the Mount of ConqueSt [Gibraltar]. I 
walked round the mountain and saw the marvellous 
works executed on it by our maSter [the late Sultan 
of Morocco] Abu’l-Hasan and the armament with 
which he equipped it, together with the additions 
made thereto by our maSfer [Abd Tndn], may God 
Slrengthen him, and I should have liked to remain 
as one of its defenders to the end of my days. 

Ibn Juzayy adds: “The Mount of ConqueSl is the 
citadel of Isldm, an obSfru£tion Sfuck in the throats 



of the idolaters. From it began the great conquest 
[of Spain by the Arabs], and at it disembarked Tariq 
ibn Ziyad, the freedman of Miisa ibn Nusayr, when 
he crossed [the ilrait in 71 ij. Its name was linked 
with his, and it was called Jebel Tdriq [The Mount 
of Tdriq]. It is called also the Mount of ConqueSl, 
because the conque^ began there. The remains of 
the wall built by Tariq and his army are ftill in exig- 
ence; they are known as the Wall of the Arabs, and 
I myself have seen them during my ftay there at the 
time of the siege of Algeciras (may God restore it 
[to Islam] !). 

“ Gibraltar was recaptured by our late mafher Abu’l- 
Hasan, who recovered it from the hands of the Chris- 
tians after they had possessed it for over twenty years. 
He sent his son, the noble prince Abii Malik, to 
besiege it, aiding him with large sums of money and 
powerful armies. It was taken after a six months’ 
siege in the year 733 [1333 a.d.]. At that time it 
was not in the present ftate. Our late mafter Abu’l- 
Hasan built in it the huge keep at the top of the 
fortress; before that it was a small tower, which was 
laid in ruins by the ^ones from the catapults, and he 
built the new one in its place. He built the arsenal 
there too (for there was no arsenal in the place before), 
as well as the great wall which surrounds the Red 
Mound, Parting from the arsenal and extending to 
the tileyard. Later on our ma^er, the Commander 
of the Faithful, Abii ‘Inin (may God ilrengthen him) 
again took in hand its fortification and embellishment, 
and ilrengthened the wall of the extremity of the 
mount, which is the moil formidable and useful of 
its walls. He also sent thither large quantities of 
munitions, foodiluffs, and provisions of all kinds, and 
thereby acquitted himself of his duty to God Moil 
High with singleness of purpose and sincere devotion. 
His concern for the affairs of the Jebel reached such 



lengths that he gave orders for the conftruftion of 
a model of it, on which he had represented models 
of its walls, towers, citadel, gates, arsenal, mosques, 
munition-^ores, and corn-granaries, together with the 
shape of the Jebel itself and the adjacent Red Mound. 
This model was executed in the palace precinfts; it 
was a marvellous likeness and a piece of fine crafts- 
manship. Any one who has seen the Jebel and then 
sees this copy will recognize its merit. This was due 
solely to his eagerness (may God strengthen him) to 
learn how matters Stood there, and his anxiety to 
Strengthen its defences and equipment. May God 
MoSt High grant victory to Islim in the WeStern 
Peninsula [Spain] at his hands, and bring to pass his 
hope of conquering the lands of the infidels and 
breaking the Strength of the adorers of the cross.” 

To resume the narrative of our Shaykh. I went 
out of Gibraltar to the town of Ronda, one of the 
strongest and moSt beautifully situated fortresses of 
the Muslims. The qidl there was my cousin, the 
doftor Abu’l-Qdsim Muhammad b. Yahyi Ibn Bat- 
tiita. I Stayed at Ronda for five days, then went 
on to the town of Marbala [Marbella]. The road 
between these two places is difficult and exceedingly 
rough. Marbala is a pretty little town in a fertile 
diStridt. I found there a company of horsemen setting 
out for Milaqa, and intended to go in their company, 
but God by His grace preserved me, for they went 
on ahead of me and were captured on the way, as we 
shall relate. 1 set out after them, and when I had 
traversed the diSlridl of Marbala, and entered the 
diSlridl of SuhayP I passed a dead horse lying in the 
ditch, and a little farther on a pannier of fish thrown 
on the ground. This aroused my suspicions. In 
front of me there was a watchtower, and I said to 
myself “ If an enemy were to appear here, the man 
on the tower would give the alarm.” So I went on 



to a house thereabouts, and at it I found a horse 
killed. While I was there I heard a shout behind 
me (for I had gone ahead of my party) and turning 
back to them, found the commander of the fort of 
Suhayl with them. He told me that four galleys 
belonging to the enemy had appeared there, and a 
number of the men on board had landed when the 
watchman was not in the tower. The horsemen who 
had juft left Marbala, twelve in number, had en- 
countered this raiding force. The Chriftians had 
killed one of them, one had escaped, and ten were 
taken prisoner. A fisherman was killed along with 
them, and it was he whose basket I had found lying 
on the road. 

The officer advised me to spend the night with him 
in his quarters, so that he could escort me thence to 
Milaqa. I passed the night in the caftle of the regi- 
ment of mounted frontiersmen called the Suhayl 
regiment. All this time the galleys of which we have 
spoken were lying close by. On the morrow he rode 
with me and we reached Milaqa, which is one of the 
largeft and moft beautiful towns of Andalusia. It 
unites the conveniences of both sea and land, and is 
abundantly supplied with foodftuffs and fruits. I 
saw grapes being sold in its bazaars at the rate of 
eight pounds for a small dirham, and its ruby-coloured 
Murcian pomegranates have no equal in the world. 
As for figs and almonds, they are exported from 
Mdlaqa and its outlying diftri^ to the lands both 
of the Eaft and the Weft. At Mdlaqa there is manu- 
faftured excellent gilded pottery, which is exported 
thence to the moft diftant lands. Its mosque covers 
a large area and has a reputation for sanftity; the court 
of the mosque is of unequalled beauty, and contains 
exceptionally tall orange trees. 

On my arrival at Malaqa I found the qidf sitting 
in the great mosque, along with the doftors of the 



law and the principal inhabitants, all engaged in 
collefting money to ransom the prisoners of whom 
we have spoken. I said to him “Praise be to God, 
Who hath preserved me, and hath not made me one 
of them.” I told him what had happened to me after 
they had gone, and he marvelled at it and sent me a 
hospitality-gift, as also did the preacher of the town. 

From Malaqa I journeyed to the town of Ballash 
[Velez], a di^ance of twenty-four miles. Ballash is 
a fine town with a magnificent mosque; grapes, fruits, 
and figs are juil as plentiful there as at Malaqa. We 
went on from there to al-Hamma [Alhama], which is 
a small town with a mo^ elegant mosque in a fine 
situation. Near by, at a distance of a mile or so from 
the town, is the hot spring [from which the town 
derives its name],® on the bank of the river. There 
is a bathhouse here for men and another for women. 

Thence I went to on the city of Gharndta [Granada], 
the metropolis of Andalusia and the bride of its cities. 
Its environs have not their equal in any country in 
the world. They extend for the space of forty miles, 
and are traversed by the celebrated river of Shannil 
[Xenil] and many other streams. Around it on every 
side are orchards, gardens, flowery meads, noble 
buildings, and vineyards. One of the mo^l beautiful 
places there is ^Ayn ad-dama* [the Fountain of Tears], ^ 
which is a hill covered with gardens and orchards and 
has no parallel in any other country. The king of 
Gharndta at the time of my visit was Sultan Abu’l- 
Hajjaj Yiisuf. I did not meet him on account of an 
illness from which he was suffering,® but the noble, 
pious, and virtuous woman, his mother, sent me some 
gold dinars, of which I made good use. 

I met at Gharndta a number of its didlinguished 
scholars and the principal Shaykh, who is also the 
superior of the Stiff orders. I spent some days with 
him in his hermitage outside Gharndta. He showed 



me the greatest honour and went with me to visit 
the hospice, famed for its sanftity, known as the 
OutpoSl of al-Uqdh [the Eagle]. Al-‘Uqab is a hill 
overlooking the environs of Gharndta, about eight 
miles from the city and close by the ruined city of 
al-Bira.® There is also at Gharndta a company of 
Persian darwishes, who have made their homes there 
because of its resemblance to their native lands. One 
is from Samar qand, another from Tabriz, a third from 
Qiiniya [Konia], one from Khurdsdn, two from India, 
and so on. 

On leaving Gharndta I travelled back through 
al-Hamma, Ballash, and Mdlaqa, to the cadlle of 
Dhakwdn, which is a fine fortress with abundant 
water, trees, and fruits.'^ From there I went to 
Ronda and on to Gibraltar, where I embarked on the 
ship by which I had crossed before, and which belonged 
to the people of Aslld [Arzila]. I arrived at Sabta 
[Ceuta] and went on to Aslld, where I dtayed for 
some months. Thence I travelled to Said [Sallee, by 
Rabdt] and from there reached the city of Marrdkush. 
It is one of the modi beautiful of cities, spaciously 
built and extending over a wide area, with abundant 
supplies. It contains magnificent mosques, such as 
its principal mosque, known as the Mosque of the 
Kutublyln [the Booksellers]. There is a marvellously 
tall minaret there; I climbed it and obtained a view 
of the whole town from it. The town is now largely 
in ruins, so that I could compare it only to Baghddd, 
though the bazaars in Baghddd are finer.® At Mar- 
rdkush too there is a splendid college, didlinguished 
by its fine site and solid condlrudlion; it was built 
by our madler, the Commander of the Faithful, 
Abu’l-Hasan [the late sultan of Morocco], 



From Marrdkush I travelled with the suite of our 
mafter [the Sultan] to Fez, where I took leave of our 
mailer and set out for the Negrolands. I reached the 
town of Sijilmasaj a very fine town, with quantities 
of excellent dates.’^ The city of Basra rivals it in 
abundance of dates, but the Sijilmasa dates are better, 
and the kind called irdr has no equal in the world. 
I flayed there with the learned Abii Muhammad 
al-Bushrf, the man whose brother I met in the city 
of Qanjanfii in China. How strangely separated they 
are ! He showed me the utmost honour. 

At Sijilmasa I bought camels and a four months’ 
supply of forage for them. Thereupon I set out on 
the Muharram of the year [seven hundred and] 
fifty-three [i8th February 1352] with a caravan 
including, amongft others, a number of the merchants 
of Sijilmasa. After twenty-five days we reached 
Taghizd, an unattraftive village, with the curious 
feature that its houses and mosques are built of blocks 
of salt, roofed with camel skins. There are no trees 
there, nothing but sand. In the sand is a salt mine; 
they dig for the salt, and find it in thick slabs, lying 
one on top of the other, as though they had been 
tool-squared and laid under the surface of the earth.® 
A camel will carry two of these slabs. No one lives 
at Taghdza except the slaves of the Massdfa tribe, 
who dig for the salt; they subsift on dates imported 
from Dar'a® and Sijilmdsa, camels’ flesh, and millet 
imported from the Negrolands. The negroes come 
up from their country and take away the salt from there. 



At Iwdldtan a load of salt brings eight to ten mithqdh\ 
in the town of Mdlli it sells for twenty to thirty, and 
sometimes as much as forty. The negroes use salt 
as a medium of exchange, judl as gold and silver is 
used [elsewhere]; they cut it up into pieces and buy 
and sell with it. The business done at Taghaza, for 
all its meanness, amounts to an enormous figure in 
terms of hundredweights of gold-dudl.^ 

We passed ten days of discomfort there, because 
the water is brackish and the place is plagued with 
flies. Water supplies are laid in at Taghazd for the 
crossing of the desert which lies beyond it, which is 
a ten-nights’ journey with no water on the way except 
on rare occasions. We indeed had the good fortune 
to find water in plenty, in pools left by the rain. One 
day we found a pool of sweet water between two 
rocky prominences. We quenched our thirdl at it 
and then washed our clothes. Truffles are plentiful 
in this desert and it swarms with lice, so that people 
wear dlring necklaces containing mercury, which kills 
them. At that time we used to go ahead of the caravan, 
and when we found a place suitable for padlurage we 
would graze our beadls. We went on doing this until 
one of our party was loft in the desert; after that I 
neither went ahead nor lagged behind. We passed 
a caravan on the way and they told us that some of 
their party had become separated from them. We 
found one of them dead under a shrub, of the sort 
that grows in the sand, with his clothes on and a whip 
in his hand. The water was only about a mile away 
from him. 

We came next to Tdsarahli, a place of subterranean 
water-beds, where the caravans halt.® They ftay 
there three days to reft, mend their waterskins, fill 
them with water, and sew on them covers of sack- 
cloth as a precaution againft the wind. From this 
point the takshij is despatched. The takshif is a name 



given to any man of the Massiifa tribe who is hired 
by the persons in the caravan to go ahead to Iwalitan, 
carrying letters from them to their friends there, so 
that they may take lodgings for them. These persons 
then come out a diflance of four nights’ journey to 
meet the caravan, and bring water with them. Anyone 
who has no friend in Iwalatan writes to some merchant 
well known for his worthy charafter, who then under- 
takes the same services for him. It often happens 
that the takshij perishes in this desert, with the result 
that the people of Iwaldtan know nothing about the 
caravan, and all or mo^l of those who are with it 
perish. That desert is haunted by demons; if the 
takshif be alone, they make sport of him and disorder 
his mind, so that he loses his way and perishes. For 
there is no visible road or track in these parts — 
nothing but sand blown hither and thither by the wind. 
You see hills of sand in one place, and afterwards you 
will see them moved to quite another place. The guide 
there is one who has made the journey frequently in 
both direftions, and who is gifted with a quick intel- 
ligence. I remarked, as a dirange thing, that the guide 
whom we had was blind in one eye, and diseased in 
the other, yet he had the bedl knowledge of the road 
of any man. We hired the takshif on tfis journey for 
a hundred gold mithqdls\ he was a man of the Massdfa. 
On the night of the seventh day [from Tasarahli] 
we saw with joy the fires of the party who had come 
out to meet us. 

Thus we reached the town of Iwilatan [WalataJ 
after a journey from Sijilmasa of two months to a 
day.® Iwdldtan is the northernmodl province of the 
negroes, and the sultan’s representative there was one 
Farb4 Husayn, farhd meaning deputy [in their lan- 
guage]. When we arrived there, the merchants 
deposited their goods in an open square, where the 
blacks undertook to guard them, and went to the 



jarbd. He was sitting on a carpet under an archway, 
with his guards before him carrying lances and bows 
in their hahds, and the headmen of the Massdfa behind 
him. The merchants remained ^landing in front of 
him while he spoke to them through an interpreter, 
although they were close to him, to show his contempt 
for them. It was then that I repented of having come 
to their country, because of their lack of manners and 
their contempt for the whites. 

I went to visit Ibn Baddd, a worthy man of Sala 
[Sallee, Rabdt], to whom I had written requesting 
him to hire a house for me, and who had done so. 
Later on the mushrif [inspedlor] of Iwdldtan, whose 
name was Manshd Jii, invited all those who had come 
with the caravan to partake of his hospitality. At 
firSl I refused to attend, but my companions urged 
me very Strongly, so I went with the reSt. The repaSt 
was served — some pounded millet mixed with a little 
honey and milk, put in a half calabash shaped like a 
large bowl. The gueSts drank and retired. I said 
to them “ Was it for this that the black invited us ?” 
They answered “Yes; and it is in their opinion the 
highest form of hospitality.” This convinced me that 
there was no good to be hoped for from these people, 
and I made up my mind to travel [back to Morocco 
at once] with the pilgrim caravan from Iwdldtan. 
Afterwards, however, I thought it beSt to go to see 
the capital of their king [at Mali!]. 

My Stay at Iwdldtan laSted about fifty days; and I 
was shown honour and entertained by its inhabitants. 
It is an excessively hot place, and boaSts a few small 
date-palms, in the shade of which they sow water- 
melons. Its water comes from underground water- 
beds at that point, and there is plenty of mutton to 
be had. The garments of its inhabitants, moSl of 
whom belong to the Massdfa tribe, are of fine Egyptian 
fabrics. Their women are of surpassing beauty, and 



are shown more respeft than the men. The ^late of 
affairs among^ these people is indeed extraordinary. 
Their men show no signs of jealousy whatever; no 
one claims descent from his father, but on the contrary 
from his mother’s brother. A person’s heirs are his 
sifter’s sons, not his own sons. This is a thing which 
I have seen nowhere in the world except among the 
Indians of Malabar. But those are heathens; these 
people are Muslims, punftilious in observing the hours 
of prayer, ftudying books of law, and memorizing 
the Koran. Yet their women show no bashfulness 
before men and do not veil themselves, though they 
are assiduous in attending the prayers. Any man 
who wishes to marry one of them may do so, but they 
do not travel with their husbands, and even if one 
desired to do so her family would not allow her to go. 

The women there have “ friends ” and “ com- 
panions ” amongft the men outside their own families, 
and the men in the same way have “ companions ” 
amongft the women of other families. A man may 
go into his house and find his wife entertaining her 
“ companion ” but he takes no objeftion to it. One 
day at Iwdlitan I went into the qddf’s house, after 
asking his permission to enter, and found with him 
a young woman of remarkable beauty. When I saw 
her I was shocked and turned to go out, but she 
laughed at me, inftead of being overcome by shame, 
and the qadf said to me “ Why are you going out 
She is my companion.” I was amazed at their con- 
duft, for he was a theologian and a pilgrim to boot. 

I was told that he had asked the sultan’s permission 
to make the pilgrimage that year with his “com- 
panion ” (whether this one or not I cannot say) but 
the sultan would not grant it. 

When I decided to make the journey to Mdllf, 
which is reached in twenty-four days from Iwalatan 
if the traveller pushes on rapidly, I hired a guide from 

321 y 


the Massiifa (for there is no necessity to travel in a 
company on account of the safety of that road), and 
set out with three of my companions. On the way 
there are many trees, and these trees are of great age 
and girth; a whole caravan may shelter in the shade 
of one of them. There are trees which have neither 
branches nor leaves, yet the shade caft by their trunks 
is sufficient to shelter a man. Some of these trees are 
rotted in the interior and the rain-water colle£Is in 
them, so that they serve as wells and the people drink 
of the water inside them.’ In others there are bees 
and honey, which is collefled by the people. I was 
surprised to find inside one tree, by which I passed, 
a man, a weaver, who had set up his loom in it and 
was adiually weaving. 

A traveller in this country carries no provisions, 
whether plain food or seasonings, and neither gold 
nor silver. He takes nothing but pieces of salt and 
glass ornaments, which the people call beads, and some 
aromatic goods. When he comes to a village the 
womenfolk of the blacks bring out millet, milk, 
chickens, pulped lotus fruit, rice, Juni (a grain re- 
sembling mu^ard seed, from which kuskust? and gruel 
are made), and pounded haricot beans. The traveller 
buys what of these he wants, but their rice causes 
sickness to whites when it is eaten, and the is 
preferable to it. 

Ten days after leaving Iwalitan we came to the 
village of Zdghari, a large village,® inhabited by negro 
traders called wanjardta^° along with whom live a 
community of whites of the ‘Ibidite se£t.“ It is 
from this village that millet is carried to Iwdldtan. 
After leaving Zigharf we came to the great river, that 
is the Nile, on which ftands the town of Kdrsakhii,^® 
The Nile flows from there down to Kdbara, and thence 
to Zdgha.“ In both Kibara and Zdgha there are 
sultans who owe allegiance to the king of MalH. The 



inhabitants of Zagha are of old landing in Isldni; 
they show great devotion and zeal for ^tudy. Thence 
the Nile descends to Tumbuktd and Gawgaw [Gogo], 
both of which will be described later; then to the town 
of MiilP'* in the land of the Limis,^ which is the 
frontier province of [the kingdom of] MdlH; thence 
to Yiifi, one of the largest towns of the negroes, 
whose ruler is one of the modi considerable of the negro 
rulers.^® It cannot be visited by any white man 
because they would kill him before he got there. 
From Ydfi the Nile descends to the land of the Ndba 
[Nubians], w'ho profess the Chridlian faith, and thence 
to Dunqula [Dongola], which is their chief town.^'^ 
The sultan of Dunqula is called Ibn Kanz ad-Din; 
he was converted to Isldm in the days of [Sultan] 
al-Malik an-Ndsir [of Egypt]. Thence it descends 
to Janddil [the Catarafts], which is the end of the negro 
territories and the beginning of the province of Uswdn 
[Aswan] in Upper Egypt, 

I saw a crocodile in this part of the Nile, close to 
the bank; it looked judl like a small boat. One day I 
went down to the river to satisfy a need, and lo, one 
of the blacks came and dlood between me and the 
river. I was amazed at such lack of manners and 
decency on his part, and spoke of it to someone or 
other. He answered “ His purpose in doing that was 
solely to proteft you from the crocodile, by placing 
himself between you and it.” 

We set out thereafter from Karsakhii and came to 
the river of Sansara, which is about ten miles from 
Main. It is their cudlom that no persons except 
those who have obtained permission are allowed to 
enter the city. I had already written to the white 
community [there] requesting them to hire a house 
for me, so when I arrived at this river, I crossed by 
the ferry without interference. Thus I reached the 
city of Mdlli, the capital of the king of the blacks.^® 



I flopped at the cemetery and went to the quarter 
occupied by the whites, where I asked for Muhammad 
ibn al-Faqfh. I found that he had hired a house for 
me and went there. His son-in-law brought me 
candles and food, and next day Ibn al-Faqih himself 
came to visit me, with other prominent residents. I 
met the qidi of MilH, ‘Abd ar-Rahmdn, who came to 
see me; he is a negro, a pilgrim, and a man of hne 
charafler. I met also the interpreter Diighd, who is 
one of the principal men among the blacks.® All 
these persons sent me hospitality-gifts of food and 
treated me with the utmofl generosity — may God 
reward them for their kindnesses! Ten days after 
our arrival we ate a gruel made of a root resembling 
colocasia, which is preferred by them to all other 
dishes. We all fell ill — there were six of us — and 
one of our number died. I for my part went to the 
morning prayer and fainted there. I asked a certain 
Egyptian for a loosening remedy and he gave me a 
thing called baydar^ made of vegetable roots, which he 
mixed with aniseed and sugar, and flirred in water. 
I drank it off and vomited what I had eaten, together 
with a large quantity of bile. God preserved me 
from death but I was ill for two months. 

The sultan of Mdlli is Mansi Sulayman, mansd 
meaning [in Mande] sultan, and Sulayman being his 
proper name.^^ He is a miserly king, not a man 
from whom one might hope for a rich present. It 
happened that I spent these two months without 
seeing him, on account of my illness. Later on he 
held a banquet in commemoration of our mafler [the 
late sultan of Morocco] Abu’l-Hasan, to which the 
commanders, doftors, qidi and preacher were invited, 
and I went along with them. Reading-desks were 
brought in, and the Koran was read through, then they 
prayed for our mafler Abu’l-Hasan and also for Mansi 
Sulaymin. When the ceremony was over I went 



forward and saluted Mansd Sulaymin. The qidf, 
the preacher, and Ibn al-Faqlh told him who I was, 
and he answered them in their tongue. They said 
to me “ The sultan says to you ‘ Give thanks to God,’ ” 
so I said “ Praise be to God and thanks under all 

When I withdrew the [sultan’s] hospitality gift was 
sent to me. It was taken firSt to the qadf’s house, and 
the qddi sent it on with his men to Ibn al-Faqih’s 
house. Ibn al-Faqih came hurrying out of his house 
bare-footed, and entered my room saying “Stand up; 
here comes the sultan’s Stuff and gift to you.” So I 
Stood up thinking [since he had called it “ Stuff ”] 
that it consisted of robes of honour and money, and 
lo! it was three cakes of bread, and a piece of beef 
fried in native oil, and a calabash of sour curds. When 
I saw this I burSt out laughing, and thought it a moSt 
amazing thing that they could be so foolish and make 
so much of such a paltry matter. 

For two months after this hospitality gift was sent 
to me I received nothing further from the sultan, 
and then followed the month of Ramaddn. Mean- 
while I used to go frequently to the palace where I 
would salute him and sit alongside the qddi and 
the preacher. I had a conversation with Diighd 
the interpreter, and he said “ Speak in his presence, 
and I shall express on your behalf what is necessary.” 
When the sultan held an audience early in Ramaddn, 
1 rose and diood before him and said to him: “ I have 
travelled through the countries of the world and have 
met their kings. Here have I been four months in 
your country, yet you have neither shown me hospi- 
tality, nor given me anything. What am I to say 
of you before [other] rulers The sultan replied 
“ I have not seen you, and have not been told about 
you.” The qddi and Ibn al-Faqfh rose and replied 
to him, saying “ He has already saluted you, and you 



have sent him food.” Thereupon he gave orders to 
set apart a house for my lodging and to pay me a 
daily sum for my expenses. Later on, on the night 
of the 27th Ramaddn, he distributed a sum of money 
which they call the Zakdh [alms] between the qadi, 
the preachers, and the doftors."® He gave me a 
portion along with them of thirty-three and a third 
mithqdls, and on my departure from Mali! he beStowed 
on me a gift of a hundred gold mithqdls. 

On certain days the sultan holds audiences in the 
palace yard, where there is a platform under a tree, 
with three Steps; this they call the pempi.^* It is 
carpeted with silk and has cushions placed on it. 
[Over it] is raised the umbrella, which is a sort of 
pavilion made of silk, surmounted by a bird in gold, 
about the size of a falcon. The sultan comes out of 
a door in a corner of the palace, carrying a bow in 
his hand and a quiver on his back. On his head he 
has a golden skull-cap, bound with a gold band which 
has narrow ends shaped like knives, more than a 
span in length. His usual dress is a velvety red 
tunic, made of the European fabrics called mutanfas. 
The sultan is preceded by his musicians, who carry 
gold and silver guimbris [two-ftringed guitars], and 
behind him come three hundred armed slaves. He 
walks in a leisurely fashion, affefting a very slow move- 
ment, and even ^ops from time to time. On reaching 
thspempi he flops and looks round the assembly, then 
ascends it in the sedate manner of a preacher ascending 
a mosque-pulpit. As he takes his seat the drums, 
trumpets, and bugles are sounded. Three slaves go 
out at a run to summon the sovereign’s deputy and 
the military commanders, who enter and sit down. 
Two saddled and bridled horses are brought, along with 
two goats, which they hold to serve as a proteflion 
againfl the evil eye. Diighd flands at the gate and the 
refl of the people remain in the flreet, under the trees. 



The negroes are of all people the mo^ submissive 
to their king and the moll abjeft in their behaviour 
before him. They swear by his name, saying Mansd 
Sulaymdn If he summons any of them while 

he is holding an audience in his pavilion, the person 
summoned takes off his clothes and puts on worn 
garments, removes his turban and dons a dirty skull- 
cap, and enters with his garments and trousers raised 
knee-high. He goes forward in an attitude of humility 
and dejedlion, and knocks the ground hard with his 
elbows, then Elands with bowed head and bent back 
likening to what he says. If anyone addresses the 
king and receives a reply from him, he uncovers his 
back and throws dufr over his head and back, for all 
the world like a bather splashing himself with water. 
I used to wonder how it was they did not blind them- 
selves. If the sultan delivers any remarks during his 
audience, those present take off their turbans and put 
them down, and lifren in silence to what he says. 
Sometimes one of them frands up before him and recalls 
his deeds in the sultan’s service, saying “ I did so-and- 
so on such a day ” or “ I killed so-and-so on such a 
day.” Those who have knowledge of this confirm 
his words, which they do by plucking the cord of the 
bow and releasing it [with a twang], ju^l as an archer 
does when shooting an arrow. If the sultan says 
“ Truly spoken ” or thanks him, he removes his 
clothes and “ dufrs.” That is their idea of good 

Ibn Juzayy adds : “ I have been told that when the 
pilgrim Mdsd al-Wanjardtf [the Mandingo] came to 
our mafrer Abu’l-Hasan as envoy from Mansd Sulay- 
mdn, one of his suite carried with him a basketful of 
duil when he entered the noble audience-hall, and 
the envoy ‘ dufred ’ whenever our mailer spoke a 
gracious word to him, juil as he would do in his own 



I was at MdlH during the two festivals of the sacri- 
fice and the fadl-breaking. On these days the sultan 
takes his seat on the fempi after the midafternoon 
prayer. The armour-bearers bring in magnificent 
arms — quivers of gold and silver, swords ornamented 
with gold and with golden scabbards, gold and silver 
lances, and crystal maces. At his head dfand four 
amirs driving off the flies, having in their hands silver 
ornaments resembling saddle-dfirrups. The com- 
manders, qadi, and preacher sit in their usual places. 
The interpreter Ddgha comes with his four wives and 
his slave-girls, who are about a hundred in number. 
They are wearing beautiful robes, and on their heads 
they have gold and silver fillets, with gold and silver 
balls attached. A chair is placed for Ddgha to sit 
on. He plays on an instrument made of reeds, with 
some small calabashes at its lower end, and chants a 
poem in praise of the sultan, recalling his battles and 
deeds of valour. The women and girls sing along 
with him and play with bows. Accompanying them 
are about thirty youths, wearing red woollen tunics 
and white skull-caps ; each of them has his drum slung 
from his shoulder and beats it. Afterwards come his 
boy pupils who play and turn wheels in the air, like 
the natives of Sind. They show a marvellous nimble- 
ness and agility in these exercises and play mo^l 
cleverly with swords. Ddghd also makes a fine play 
with the sword. Thereupon the sultan orders a gift 
to be presented to Ddghd and he is given a purse 
containing two hundred miihqdls of gold du^t, and is 
informed of the contents of the purse before all the 
people. The commanders rise and twang their bows 
in thanks to the sultan. The next day each one of 
them gives Ddghi a gift, every man according to his 
rank. Every Friday after the “'asr prayer, Ddghi 
carries out a similar ceremony to this that we have 



On fea^l-days, after Diigha has finished his display, 
the poets come in. Each of them is inside a figure 
resembling a thrush, made of feathers, and provided 
with a wooden head with a red beak, to look like a 
thrush’s head. They iland in front of the sultan in 
this ridiculous make-up and recite their poems. I 
was told that their poetry is a kind of sermonizing 
in which they say to the sultan: “This pempi which 
you occupy was that whereon sat this king and that 
king, and such and such were this one’s noble aftions 
and such and such the other’s. So do you too do good 
deeds whose memory will outlive you.” After that, 
the chief of the poets mounts the ileps of the pempi 
and lays his head on the sultan’s lap, then climbs to 
the top of the pempi and lays his head firil on the 
sultan’s right shoulder and then on his left, speaking 
all the while in their tongue, and finally he comes 
down again. I was told that this praftice is a very 
old custom amongfl them, prior to the introduftion 
of Islam, and that they have kept it up.*® 

The negroes disliked Mansd Sulaymdn because of 
his avarice. His predecessor was Mansa Maghd, and 
before him reigned Mansa Miisd, a generous and 
virtuous prince, who loved the whites and made gifts 
to them.®^ It was he who gave Abd Ishdq as-Sahili“ 
four thousand mithqdls in the course of a single day. 
I heard from a tru^worthy source that he gave three 
thousand mithqdls on one day to Mudrik ibn Faqqds, 
by whose grandfather his own grandfather, Sdraq 
Jdta, had been converted to Isldm. 

The negroes possess some admirable qualities. 
They are seldom unjudl, and have a greater abhorrence 
of injuilice than any other people. Their sultan 
shows no mercy to anyone who is guilty of the leadl 
adl of it. There is complete security in their country. 
Neither traveller nor inhabitant in it has anything to 
fear from robbers or men of violence. They do not 



confiscate the property of any white man who dies 
in their country, even if it be uncounted wealth. On 
the contrary, they give it into the charge of some 
trustworthy person among the whites, until the rightful 
heir takes possession of it. They are careful to observe 
the hours of prayer, and assiduous in attending them 
in congregations, and in bringing up their children 
to them. On Fridays, if a man does not go early 
to the mosque, he cannot find a corner to pray in, on 
account of the crowd. It is a cuSlom of theirs to 
send each man his boy [to the mosque] with his 
prayer-mat; the boy spreads it out for his maSler in 
a place befitting him [and remains on it] until he comes 
to the mosque. Their prayer-mats arc made of the 
leaves of a tree resembling a date-palm, but without 

Another of their good qualities is their habit of 
wearing clean white garments on Fridays. Even if 
a man has nothing but an old worn shirt, he washes 
it and cleans it, and wears it to the Friday service. 
Yet another is their zeal for learning the Koran by 
heart. They put their children in chains if they show 
any backwardness in memorizing it, and they are not 
set free until they have it by heart. I visited the qddi 
in his house on the day of the fe^ival. His children 
were chained up, so I said to him “ Will you not let 
them loose ?” He replied “ I shall not do so until 
they learn the Koran by heart.” Among their bad 
qualities are the following. The women servants, 
slave-girls, and young girls go about in front of every- 
one naked, without a ftitch of clothing on them. 
Women go into the sultan’s presence naked and without 
coverings, and his daughters also go about naked. 
Then there is their cu^om of putting duft and ashes 
on their heads, as a mark of respeft, and the grotesque 
ceremonies we have described when the poets recite 
their verses. Another reprehensible praAice among 



many of them is the eating of carrion, dogs, and 

The date of my arrival at MalH was 14th Jumada I,, 
[seven hundred and] fifty-three [28th June 1352] and 
of my departure from it 22nd Muharram of the year 
fifty-four [27th February 1353]. I was accompanied 
by a merchant called Abii Bakr ibn Ya'qiib. We took 
the Mima road. I had a camel which I was riding, 
because horses are expensive, and co^l a hundred 
mithqdls each. We came to a wide channel which 
flows out of the Nile and can only be crossed in boats. 
The place is infected with mosquitoes, and no one can 
pass that way except by night. We reached the 
channel three or four hours after nightfall on a moon- 
lit night. On reaching it I saw sixteen beails with 
enormous bodies, and marvelled at them, taking them 
to be elephants, of which there are many in that 
country. Afterwards I saw that they had gone into 
the river, so I said to Abii Bakr “ What kind of 
animals are these ?” He replied “ They are hippo- 
potami which have come out to pafture ashore.” They 
are bulkier than horses, have manes and tails, and 
their heads are like horses’ heads, but their feet like 
elephants’ feet. I saw these hippopotami again when 
we sailed down the Nile from Tumbuktii to Gawgaw. 
They were swimming in the water, and lifting their 
heads and blowing. The men in the boat were afraid 
of them and kept close to the bank in case the hippo- 
potami should sink them. 

They have a cunning method of catching these 
hippopotami. They use spears with a hole bored 
in them, through which ^Irong cords are passed. The 
spear is thrown at one of the animals, and if it trikes 
its leg or neck it goes right through it. Then they 
pull on the rope until the bea^ is brought to the bank, 
kill it and eat its flesh. Along the bank there are 
quantities of hippopotamus bones. 



We halted near this channel at a large village, 
which had as governor a negro, a pilgrim, and man 
of fine charaaer, named Farbi Magha. He was 
one of the negroes who made the pilgrimage in the 
company of Sultan MansA Miisi. Farba Magha 
told me that when Mansd Miisa came to this channel, 
he had with him a qadi, a white man. This qddi 
attempted to make away with four thousand mithqdls 
and the sultan, on learning of it, was enraged at him 
and exiled him to the country of the heathen cannibals. 
He lived among them for four years, at the end of 
which the sultan sent him back to his own country. 
The reason why the heathens did not eat him was 
that he was white, for they say that the white is in- 
digestible because he is not “ ripe,” whereas the black 
man is “ ripe ” in their opinion. 

Sultan Mansd Sulaymdn was visited by a party of 
these negro cannibals, including one of their amirs. 
They have a cuSlom of wearing in their ears large 
pendants, each pendant having an opening of half 
a span. They wrap themselves in silk mantles, and 
in their country there is a gold mine. The sultan 
received them with honour, and gave them as his 
hospitality-gift a servant, a negress. They killed and 
ate her, and having smeared their faces and hands 
with her blood came to the sultan to thank him. I 
was informed that this is their regular custom whenever 
they visit his court. Someone told me about them 
that they say that the choiceil parts of women’s flesh 
are the palm of the hand and the brea^. 

We continued our journey from this village which 
is by the channel, and came to the town of Quri 
Mansd.“ At this point the camel which I was riding 
died. Its keeper informed me of its death, but when 
I went out to see it, I found that the blacks had already 
eaten it, according to their usual cuflom of eating 
carrion. I sent two lads whom I had hired for my 



service to buy me a camel at Zagharl, and waited at 
Qurl Mansd for six days till they returned with it. 

I travelled next to the town of Mima and halted 
by some wells in its outskirts.®” Thence we went 
on to Tumbuktii, which Sands four miles from the 
river. MoS of its inhabitants are of the Massiifa 
tribe, wearers of the face-veil. Its governor is called 
Farba Miisi. I was present with him one day when 
he had juS appointed one of the Massiifa to be amir 
of a seftion. He assigned to him a robe, a turban, 
and trousers, all of them of dyed cloth, and bade him 
sit upon a shield, and the chiefs of his tribe raised him 
on their heads. In this town is the grave of the 
meritorious poet Abii Ishaq as-Sdhilf, of Gharnata 
[Granada], who is known in his own land as at-Tu- 
wayjin [“ Little Saucepan ”].®^ 

From Tumbuktii I sailed down the Nile on a small 
boat, hollowed out of a single piece of wood. We 
used to go ashore every night at the villages and buy 
whatever we needed in the way of meat and butter 
in exchange for salt, spices, and glass beads. I then 
came to a place the name of which I have forgotten, 
where there was an excellent governor, a pilgrim, 
called Farba Sulayman. He is famous for his courage 
and strength, and none ventures to pluck his bow. 
I have not seen anyone among the blacks taller or 
bulkier than him. At this town I was in need of some 
millet, so I visited him (it was on the Prophet’s birth- 
day) and saluted him. He took me by the hand, and 
led me into his audience hall. We were served with 
a drink of theirs called daqnu, which is water con- 
taining some pounded millet mixed with a little honey 
or milk. They drink this in place of water, because 
if they drink plain water it- upsets them. If they have 
no millet they mix the water with honey or milk. 
Afterwards a green melon was brought in and we ate 
some of it. 



A young boy, not yet full-grown, came in, and Farbd 
Sulaymdn, calling him, said to me “ Here is your 
hospitality-gift; keep an eye on him in case he escapes.” 
So I took the boy and prepared to withdraw, but he 
said “ Wait till the food comes.” A slave-girl of his 
joined us; she was an Arab girl, of Damascus, and she 
spoke to me in Arabic. While this was going on 
we heard cries in his house, so he sent the girl to find 
out what had happened. She returned to him and 
told him that a daughter of his had ju^ died. He 
said “ I do not like crying, come, we shall walk to 
the river,” meaning the Nile, on which he has some 
houses. A horse was brought, and he told me to 
ride, but I said “ I shall not ride if you are walking,” 
so we walked together. We came to his houses by 
the Nile, where food was served, and after we had 
eaten I took leave of him and withdrew. I met no 
one among the blacks more generous or upright than 
him. The boy whom he gave me is ^ill with me. 

I went on from there to Gawgaw [Gogo], which is 
a large city on the Nile, and one of the fineft towns 
in the Negrolands.®* It is also one of their biggeil 
and beit-provisioned towns, with rice in plenty, milk, 
and fish, and there is a species of cucumber there called 
'indni which has no equal. The buying and selling 
of its inhabitants is done with cowry-shells, and the 
same is the case at Mali!.®® I flayed there about 
a month, and then set out in the direftion of Tagaddi 
by land with a large caravan of merchants from 
Ghaddmas. Their guide and leader was the pilgrim 
W^uchfn, which means “wolf” in the language of the 
blacks. I had a riding-camel and a she-camel to 
carry my provisions, but when we had travelled the 
firdt ^age, the she-camel could go no farther. So the 
pilgrim Wuchln took what was on it and diilributed 
it among^ his party, each of whom undertook to carry 
a part of it. There was in the company a Maghrabin 



belonging to Tadala, who refused to carry any of it 
at all, as the re^ had done. My boy was thirty one 
day, and I asked this man for water, but he would 
not give it. 

We now entered the territory of the Bardama, who 
are a tribe of Berbers. No caravan can travel [through 
their country] without a guarantee of their proteftion, 
and for this purpose a woman’s guarantee is of more 
value than a man’s. Their women are the mo^l 
perfeft in beauty and the moft shapely in figure of 
all women, of a pure white colour and very ilout; 
nowhere in the world have I seen any who equal them 
in stoutness.®* I fell ill in this country on account 
of the extreme heat, and a surplus of bile. We pushed 
on rapidly with our journey until we reached Tagaddd. 
The houses at Tagadda are built of red ilone, and its 
water runs by the copper mines, so that both its colour 
and ta^le are affedfed. There are no grain crops there 
except a little wheat, which is consumed by merchants 
and strangers. The inhabitants of Tagaddd have no 
occupation except trade. They travel to Egypt every 
year, and import quantities of all the fine fabrics to 
be had there and of other Egyptian wares. They live 
in luxury and ease, and vie with one another in regard 
to the number of their slaves and serving-women. 
The people of MdlH and Iwdlatan do the same. They 
never sell the educated female slaves, or but rarely 
and at a high price.®* 

When I arrived at Tagaddi I wished to buy an 
educated female slave, but could not find one. After 
a while the q4di sent me one who belonged to a friend 
of his, and I bought her for twenty-five mithqdis. 
Later on her master repented [of having sold her] 
and wished to have the sale rescinded, so I said to 
him “ If you can show me where to find another, I 
shall cancel it for you.” He suggested a servant 
belonging to ‘AH Aghydl, who was that very Maghrabin 



from Tddala who had refused to carry any of my 
effefts when my camel broke down, and to give my 
boy water when he was thirdly. So I bought her 
from him (she was better than the former one) and 
cancelled the sale with the fir^l man. Afterwards this 
Maghrabin too repented of having sold the servant 
and wished to have the sale cancelled. He was very 
insi^ent about it but I refused, simply to pay him 
back for his vile conduft. He was like to go mad 
or die of grief, but afterwards 1 cancelled his bargain 
for him. 

The copper mine is in the outskirts of Tagaddd. 
They dig the ore out of the ground, bring it to the 
town, and caft it in their houses. This work is done 
by their male and female slaves. When they obtain 
the red copper, they make it into bars a span and a 
half in length, some thin and others thick. The thick 
bars are sold at the rate of four hundred for a mithqdl 
of gold, and the thin at the rate of six or seven hundred 
to the mithqdl. They serve also as their medium of 
exchange; with the thin bars they buy meat and fire- 
wood, with the thick, slaves, male and female, millet, 
butter, and wheat. The copper is exported from 
Tagaddd to the town of Kdbar, in the regions of the 
heathens, to Zaghdy,®® and to the country of Barnd, 
which is forty days’ journey from Tagaddd. The 
people of Barnd are Muslims, and have a king called 
Idris, who never shows himself to his people nor talks 
to them, except from behind a curtain.®’ From this 
country come excellent slave-girls, eunuchs, and fabrics 
dyed with saffron. The copper from Tagaddd is 
carried also to Jawjawa, the country of the Muwar- 
tabiin, and elsewhere.®® 

During my dlay at Tagaddd I wished to meet the 
sultan, who is a Berber called Izdr, and was then at 
a place a day’s journey from the town. So I hired 
a guide, and set out thither. He was informed of 



my coming and came to see me, riding a horse without 
a saddle, as is their custom. In place of a saddle he 
had a gorgeous saddle-cloth, and he was wearing a 
cloak, trousers, and turban, all in blue. With him 
were his sixer’s sons, who are the heirs to his kingdom. 
We rose at his approach, and shook his hand, then he 
asked about me and my arrival, and was told my 
^lory. He had me lodged in one of the tents of the 
Yanatibiin, who are like the wusjdn in our country,®® 
and he sent me a sheep roa^led on a spit and a wooden 
bowl of cows’ milk. Near us was the tent of his 
mother and his sifter; they came to visit us and saluted 
us, and his mother used to send us milk after the time 
of evening-prayer, which is their milking time. They 
drink it at that time and again in early morning, but 
of cereal foods they neither eat nor know. I ftayed 
with them six days, and every day received from the 
sultan two roafted rams, one in the morning and one 
in the evening. He also presented me with a she- 
camel and with ten mithqdU of gold, and I took leave 
of him and returned to Tagaddi. 

After my return to Tagaddi, a messenger arrived 
with a command from our mafter bidding me proceed 
to his sublime capital. I kissed the order and con- 
formed to its inftrudtions. I bought two riding- 
camels for thirty-seven and a third mithqdls and pre- 
pared for the journey to Tawat. I took with me 
provisions for seventy days, for there is no corn to 
be had between Tagaddd and Tawat, only fleshmeat, 
milk, and butter, which are paid for with pieces of 

I left Tagaddi on Thursday iith Sha'bdn of the 
year [seven hundred and] fifty-four [iith September 
1353] with a large caravan which included six hundred 
women slaves. We came to Kdhir, where there are 
abundant pafturages, and thence entered an unin- 
habited and waterless desert, extending for three days’ 

337 2 


march." We journeyed next for fifteen days through 
a desert which, though uninhabited, contains water- 
points, and reached the place at which the Ghat road, 
leading to Egypt, and the Tawdt road divide. Here 
there are subterranean water-beds which flow over 
iron; if a piece of white cloth is washed in this water 
it turns black. 

Ten days after leaving this point we came to the 
country of Haggar, who are a tribe of Berbers ; they 
wear face veils and are a rascally lot.^^ We en- 
countered one of their chiefs, who held up the caravan 
until they paid him an indemnity of pieces of cloth 
and other goods. Our arrival in their country fell 
in the month of Ramaddn, during which they make 
no raiding expeditions and do not moleft caravans. 
Even their robbers, if they find goods on the road 
during Ramadan, do not touch them. This is the 
cuftom of all the Berbers along this route. We 
continued to travel through the country of Haggar 
for a month; it has few plants, is very ftony, and the 
road through it is bad. On the feftival of the Faft- 
breaking we reached the country of some Berbers, 
who wear the face-veils, like these others. 

W B came next to Bdda, one of the principal villages 
of Tawat. The soil there is all sand and saltmarsh; 
there are quantities of dates, but they are not good, 
though the local inhabitants prefer them to the dates 
of Sijilmasa. There are no crops there, nor butter, 
nor olive oil; all these things have to be imported from 
the Maghrib. The food of its inhabitants consifts of 
dates and locufts, for thete are quantities of locufts 
in their country; they ftore them juft like dates and 
use them as food. They go out to catch the locufts 
before sunrise, for at that hour they cannot fly on 
account of the cold." 

We ftayed at Bddi for some days, and then joined 
a caravan and in the middle of Dhu’l-qa‘da reached 



the city of Sijilmasa. I set out thence on the second 
of Dhu’l-hijja [29th December], at a time of intense 
cold, and snow fell very heavily on the way. I have 
in my life seen bad roads and quantities of snow, at 
Bukhard and Samarqand, in Khurdsdn, and the lands 
of the Turks, but never have I seen anything worse 
than the road of Umm Junayba. On the eve of the 
Festival we reached Dar at-Tama‘. I dlayed there 
during the day of the fea^l and then went on. So 
I arrived at the royal city of Fa’s [Fez], the capital 
of our master the Commander of the Faithful (may 
God strengthen him), where I kissed his beneficent 
hand and was privileged to behold his gracious coun- 
tenance. [Here] I settled down under the wing of 
his bounty after long journeying. May God MoSt 
High recompense him for the abundant favours and 
ample benefits which he has beSlowed on me; may He 
prolong his days and spare him to the Muslims for 
many years to come. 

Here ends the travel-narrative entitled A Donation 
to those interested in the Curiosities of the Cities and 
Marvels of the Ways. Its diftation was finished on 
3rd Dhu’l-hijja 756 [9th December 1355]. Praise 
be to God, and peace to His creatures whom He hath 

Ibn Juzayy adds : “ Here ends the narrative which 
I have abridged from the didlration of the Shaykh Abd 
‘Abdalldh Muhammad ibn Battdta (may God ennoble 
him). It is plain to any man of intelligence that 
this shaykh is the traveller of the age: and if one were 
to say “ the traveller par excellence of this our Muslim 
community ” he would be guilty of no exaggeration. 



^ Corresponding to 2 1 solar years and four months. 

“ Abd Tdshifin I (reigned 1318-1348) of the Ziyinid dynasty 
of Tlemsen, whose authority reached at this time as far as Algiers 
(then a place of minor importance). About this same year (1325) 
Abd Tishifin opened a campaign again^ the sultan of Tunis. 

^ There were various methods in use for this purpose. One was 
to recite a special litany and await the issue in a dream ; another, which 
was frequently praffised by Ibn Battdta, was to take an augury from 
the Koran after some preliminary recitations. 

^ _The fertile plain lying behind Algiers. 

® Then the frontier di^lrift of the sultanate of Ifriqlya (Tunis) ; 
but on several occasions Bougie formed a separate principality, either 
alone or with Constantine. 

® Tunisia and the ea^ern part of Algeria had been overrun in the 
middle of the eleventh century by nomad Arabs, despatched by the 
Fdtimid Caliph of Egypt to punish a rebel governor, and only behind 
the walls of the cities were life and property secure. 

^ Under the Hafsid dynasty, which ruled Tunisia from 1228 until 
the advent of the “ Barbary Corsairs ” in the sixteenth century, 
Tunis was the chief cultural centre of Northwest Africa, and many 
Moorish families from Spain settled there, Abu Yahyd II reigned 
from 1318 to 1346, when Tunis was temporarily captured by the 
Marinid sultan of Morocco. 

® The fedlival following the annual fa^l observed during the month 
of Ramadan, known as ^Id al-Fitr or Bayrdm in the Eail. In 725 it 
fell on 9th September. A special plot of ground, called the Musaildy 
usually outside the walls, was set aside for the ceremonial prayers 
on fefrival days. It is cu^omary to wear new garments on this 

^ The omission of the party to visit Qayrawin, the site of the moil 
famous sanftuary in Northwefr Africa, is explained by the disturbed 
ftate of the interior. 

The names of the four gates of Alexandria (Wcfr Gate, Sea Gate, 
Rosetta Gate, and Green Gate) were until recently preserved in the 
frreet names of the city. It is perhaps worth noting in this connedion 
that Alexandria is apparently the only city in the Ea^ which has paid 
Ibn Battuta the tribute of naming a ^eet after him. 



Ibn Battiita’s estimate of three miles between the Pharos and 
the city is an evident exaggeration, though Idrisf also says that the 
lighthouse was three miles di^ant by land and one mile by sea. A 
later writer, al-Qalqashandi, puts the distance at a mile. The same 
author ^ates that the Pharos was partially dei>lroyed by the Greeks in 
the early part of the eighth century, and fell gradually into decay 
“ until in the middle of the fourteenth century it had become a total 
ruin, only a fragment of it remaining.” 

“ Pompey’s Pillar ” is a red granite column from Assuan, which 
is supposed to have been erefted in late Roman times on the site of the 
ancient temple of Serapis. 

Ije, brother by spiritual affiliation, as the term usually signifies 
in the language of the saints and myilics. 

The phrase seems to be used here as a polite manner of depre- 
cating the preference shown by the shaykh to the traveller. 

A species of mullet from which the Italian caviare {bottargd) 
is obtained. 

Ibn Battiita is in error here; the city was decoyed by the 
Egyptian government after the Crusade of St. Louis in 1249-50, 
to prevent its recapture by the Franks. 

The rhetorical description in the text is an example (very much 
abridged) of the florid ^lyle of composidon in balanced and rhymed 
sentences commonly found in such passages, and possibly intended to 
convey the emodons of admiration and aflonishment. It is not all 
mere verbiage, however ; the laft sentence is confirmed by the Italian 
Frescobaldi, who visited Cairo in 1384, and remarks that a hundred 
thousand persons slept at night outside the city because of the shortage 
of houses. This too after the ravages of the two “ Black Deaths ” 
of 1348 and 1381. 

Ar-Rawda^ now the island of Roda. The amenides of Roda are 
frequently mend on ed in contemporary Arabic literature, and also 
in the Arabian Nights, 

Only the fagade, entrance hall (with minaret), and some frag- 
ments of this magnificent hospital, built by Sultan QaK’dn (1279-90), 
now remain. The sultan’s mausoleum, now pardally reflored, is one 
of the moft exquisite monuments of medieval Saracenic architefture 
and ornament. Part of the ilreet ilill retains the name of ‘‘ Between 
the two Cables,” a name derived in all probability from the Fddmid 
palaces eredled in this quarter in the tenth and eleventh centuries. 

The main Qardfa lies to the south of modern Cairo, between 
Old Cairo and the Muqattam hills. In extent and in appearance it 
resembles a town, owing to the peculiar Egyptian custom here referred 
to of building chambers and houses over the tombs. 

On the nighc following the r4th Sha‘bdn (the eighth month of 
the Muslim year) special services are held in all mosques. The tradi- 
donal reason is that “ on this night the Lote-tree of Paradise, on the 



leaves of which are inscribed the names of all living persons, is shaken, 
and the leaf of any mortal who is predestined to die during the ensuing 
year falls withering to the ground ” (Michell, Egyptian Calendar for 
the Koptic Year 1617 (i 900-1 901 a.d.). 

Al-Husayn, the younger son of the Caliph ‘All, and grandson of 
the Prophet, was killed with moSl of his family at KarbaM in ‘Ir£q, 
while leading a revolt againSl the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus in 681 . 
The death of the Prophet’s grandson in this fashion caused a revulsion 
againft the reigning house, and to this day the episode is commemorated 
by both Sunnis and Shi‘ites on the loth Muharram, the anniversary 
of the event. The mosque of Sayytdna Husen (to be carefully dis- 
tinguished from the more famous college mosque of Sultan Hasan, not 
yet built) is an imposing edifice near the ea^ern boundary of the city. 

So called in contrail to the “ Sudanese Nile,” i.e. the Niger. 

This division is found in other Arabic geographers. The third 
branch is moH probably either the Ibyir (Thermatiac) branch, which 
flows into Lake Burlus and out through the Sebennytic mouth, or the 
Tanaitic branch flowing into Lake Menzaleh. 

This was the name given to the ancient Egyptian temples, round 
which, as round the Pyramids, many fantastic legends grew up- Their 
conilruftion was popularly ascribed to Hermes “ the Ancient,” who 
was identified with Enoch. The temple of Ikhmfm seems to have 
been the one antiquity which attraded Ibn Battfita’s notice in Egypt, 
except the Pyramids. 

It is noteworthy that our traveller says not a word of the temples 
of Luxor, although the tomb of Abu’l-Hajjdj (a famous saint who 
died here in 1 244) is actually in the precincts of the temple of Ammon. 

In the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries Aydhdb w*as 
the terminal port of the Yemen and Indian trade, and a place of great 
importance. It was dedroyed in 1422 by the sultan of Egyf)t, and its 
place taken by the rival port of Saw^kin. Its ruins have been identified 
on a flat and waterless mound ” on the Red Sea coad, i z miles to 
the north of Halayb, at 22,20 N., 36.32 E. (G. W, Murray, in 
Geographical Journal 68 (1926*), 235-40, where the longitude is 
given as 36'' 9* 32", which does not agree with the map). 

The Hudrubis were Arabs, not Bejas. 

A hodelry i^funduq^ khdn^ or karawdmardf) is psually a square 
walled building enclosing a courtyard ; beads and baggage are lodged 
in the lower dorey and travellers in chambers in the upper dorey. If 
there is no upper dorey all mud lodge together. 

Now a dation on the Sinai Military railway, about thirty miles 
ead by north of Qantara. 

The jinn (genii) are a sub-cele&Tial category of creatures akin to 
men, but created of fire, who are credited with superhuman powers. 
According to the Koran they were subjeded to Solomon, and “ made 
for him whatsoever he pleased, of lofty halls, and images, and dishes 



like tanks, and great cooking-vessels.” In a later passage Ibn Batttita 
refers to the legend that it was by the aid of the jinn that Solomon built 
Palmyra {cf, i Kings ix. i8). 

The mosque at Hebron is a Crusaders’ church built on much 
older (probably pre-Roman) foundations, some of whose ^ones fuUy 
bear out Ibn Battuta’s ^atement. The cave is now blocked up, but 
cenotaphs of the Patriarchs and their wives ^11 ^nd in small chapels 
on either side of the nave. The (putative) tomb of Joseph is in a 
separate exterior chapel. The tomb of Lot lies several imles to the ea^. 

The reference is to the miraculous “ night-journey ” or “ ascen- 
sion ” {mi^rdj) in which Muhammad was given a vision of heaven. 
Though living at the time in Mecca, he was, according to the tradition, 
fir A transported to “the farther mosque” (al-tnasjid al-aqsa) in 
Jerusalem, and thence ascended on the cele^al ileed Buriq. 

The present walls were built by the Ottoman sultan Sulayman 
“the Magnificent” (1520-1566). 

The “ royal ” cubit measured about 26 inches. 

This railing was eredted by the Franks during the Crusaders’ 
occupation of Jerusalem. 

The mosque of the Ascension, on the brow of the Mount of 
Olives, on the farther side of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, not the Valley 
of Hinnom (Gehenna). 

This seems to be a confusion between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, 
where the crypt of the Church of the Nativity contains the shrine of 
the Manger as well as the shrine of the Birthplace. 

Aj^fin, now Qal‘at ar-Rabad, was a fortress in a conspicuous 
position on the eaAern ridge of the Ghawr (the Jordan valley), 1 2 miles 
N.W. of Jerash. 

Ibn Battfita has obviously confused the details of three separate 
journeys in Syria — see below pp. 123 and 305, 

A village close to Zahla, formerly reputed to possess the tomb 
of Noah. Until the middle of the fourteenth century the floor of the 
Biqd‘ (Coele-Syria) was covered by a lake or marsh at this point, and 
there was a tradition that the Ark came to reil on the spur of Anjar 
on the opposite side to and S.E. of Zahla. 

Tripoli was recovered by Sultan QaM’tin in 1289. 

A similar ^ory is told of Muhammad the Daftardir during the 
Turko-Egyptian campaign in Kordof^n in 1821. A complaint was 
preferred by a woman againA a soldier, and the commander had the 
man cut open alive “ on the woman agreeing to suffer the same fate if 
the milk was not found in the man’s stomach ” {Journal of the African 
Soc.^ No. 98, Jan. 1926, p. 170). 

The “ Ten ” were the mo^ prominent members of Muhammad’s 
entourage, and are greatly revered by the orthodox ; the Shi^ites on the 
other hand, regard them much as Judas Iscariot is regarded in the 
Christian tradition. Their especial hatred is reserved for ‘Omar, who 



was responsible for the election of the fir^l Caliph and was himself the 
second, and whom they blame accordingly for the exclusion of ‘Alf 
from the succession to which he was designated (as they aver, in defiance 
of all historical argument) by the Prophet. 

Several pages of the original are devoted to an elaborate descrip- 
tion of Aleppo, consMng chiefly in quotations of ornate prose passages 
from I bn Jubayr, and short extracts from eulogies of the city by famous 

Tizin is situated 28 miles W. of Aleppo. 

In 1268. See his letter to Boemund describing the sack of the 
city, in Yule’s Marco Polo (3rd ed., ed. Cordier), i, 24 note. 

The fortress of Pagrae, called by the Crus&ders. Ga^on or GaAin, 
which defended the entry through the Baylan Pass, between Alexan- 
dretta and Antioch. It was recaptured by Saladin in n88. 

Better known in Europe as the Assassins. They were seftaries 
of an offshoot of the Fd timid branch of the Shi'ites, founded in the 
eleventh century. 

Ibrdhlm ibn Adham, a famous ascetic and saint, originally from 
Balkh, who is said to have died during a naval expedition again^l the 
Greeks about 780. Little is known of his life, except that Syria was 
the principal centre of his religious adbvities, but he afterwards became 
the central figure in several cycles of Sdfi legend, evidently derived 
from the legends of the Budd^. 

Son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, and the 
central figure in the doftrines of the Shi‘ites, 

Here follows a lengthy exiraft from Ibn Jubayr in rhyming prose. 
In order that the reader may appreciate the rhetorical fryle employed 
in such passages, the firfr few sentences may be translated literally as 
follows : “ As for Damascus, she is the Paradise of the Orient, and 
dawning-place of her resplendent light ; the seal of the lands of Isldm 
whose hospitality we have enjoyed, and bride of the cities which we 
have unveiled. She is adorned with flowers of sweet-scented plants, 
and appears amid^ brocaded gardens; she has occupied an exalted 
position in the place of beauty, and is mofr richly bedecked in her bridal 
chair,” Several pages of other quotations follow before the editor 
resumes the thread of Ibn Battfita’s narrative. 

This is a popular tradition, intended to account for the fa6t that 
the Church of St. John was not converted into a mosque until seventy 
years after the Arab conquefr of Damascus. The church was not 
demolished, but merely dipped of its Chrifrian furnishings and refitted 
as a mosque. Ibn Battdta goes on to give a detailed description of the 
mosque as it existed in his day. This edifice was destroyed by fire 
during Tamerlane’s occupation of Damascus in 1400, and has since 
been reconilru&ed more than once. The present building dates only 
from 1893, and preserves little trace of its former magnificence, except 
the three fine minarets. 



J'hQ founder of the Umayyad dyna^ of Caliphs, which reigned 
at Damascus from 660 to 749, and was supplanted by the ‘Abbdsid 
dynaily, who made their capital at Baghdad. The bazaar of the 
coppersmiths ^11 occupies the same position, but is by no means “ one 
of the fine^ in Damascus ” at the present day. 

This was originally a mechanical water-clock, which was ftill 
in working order when Ibn Jubayr visited Damascus in 1184 (see 
le Strange, PaleSltne under the Moslems^ p. 250), but had fallen 
out of repair in the interval. Though the galleries have long since 
disappeared, the spouting fountain (a relic of Byzantine days) still 

As being contrary to the orthodox doftrine that no aftivity or 
quality in God is to be compared with the corresponding human 
aftivi^ or quality. The Hanbalite school, the most conservative of 
the four orthodox schools (see Introd., p. 23), disallowed the rationaliz- 
ing interpretations of the other schools. 

The wearing of silk is contrary to ^brid Muhammadan law. 

On Ibn Taymiya, who died in 1328, see Introd., p. 38. His 
name is now held in great respect as the forerunner of the Wahhdbf 
and other modem reform movements in Islam. 

A Muhammadan faA is limited to the hours of daylight, but 
is absolute during that time, even water-drinking being prohibited. 

It is probably this charaderi^lic that has earned for Damascus 
the nickname of al^mathakk, “ the kitchen.” 

Leaving his wife, or one of his wives, behind him, as he relates 
below (p, 304). This wife bore him a son, but the boy died in child- 

‘Aqabat as-Sawdn, now ‘Aqabat al-Hijdziya, a ^tion on the 
Hijaz railway. On Prof. Alois Musil’s map of the Northern Hijaz 
(1927) it is situated at 29.50 N., 35.48 E. 

Dhit al-Hajj, a iladon at 29.05 N., 36.08 £, 

Baldah is identified by Musil [Northern Hejaz, p. 329) with the 
valley of al-Bazwd, about fifty kilometres south of Dhit al-Hajj and 
near the ^don of al-Hazm at 28.41 N., 36.14 £. 

“ The halting-place of al-Ukhaydir (al-Akhzar) lies in a deep 
valley enclosed by high slopes, in places covered with lava. Ibn 
Battiita righdy compares this to a valley of hell” (Musil, th, 329). 
^-Akhzar, the name of which (“ The little green place ”) is obviously 
ironical, is situated at 28.08 N., 37.01 E. 

The ^ory of the impious tribe of Thamiid, who were annihilated 
for their disobedience, is frequently related in the Koran. It arose 
in all probability from the exi^lence of these tombs, which belonged to 
an early South-Arabian trading community settled on the trade-route 
between the Yemen and the marts of Syria, and afterwards confused 
with the ancient North-Arabian tribe of Thamtid. 

^ From al-Hijr (Madd’in Sdlih) to al-‘EU is a distance of about 



1 8 English miles. Al-Hijr is situated at 2649 N., 37.56 E,, al-‘EU at 
26.36 N., 38.04 E. 

The battle at Badr in 633 a.d., in which the pagan Meccans were 
defeated by a much smaller force of Muslims, was the first important 
success of the new community, and one of the turning-points of 
Muhammad’s career. 

According to the Arabic geographer Hamdini (pp. 184-5) the 
Elation of Juhfa was situated 103 (Arabic) miles from Rawhd’, which 
was the second is^ation from Madina and 47 miles di^ant from the 
city. An Arabic mile measured 1921 metres, as compared as 1609 in 
an English mile. 

Khulays, described by the Arabic geographer Yaqdt as a fortified 
enceinte between Mecca and Madina, seems to have taken the place 
of the older station of Qudayd, 24 miles from Juhfa and 23 from the 
next Nation of ‘Usfdn, 

‘Usfdn and Mart (or Marr az-Zuhrdn) s^illexi^, the latter 23 miles 
from ‘Usfdn and 1 3 from Mecca. 

The descriptions of Mecca and the Pilgrimage which follow in the 
original are abridged from the work of Ibn Jubayr, and have been very 
fully annotated by Burton in his Personal Nanaihe of a Pilgrimage to 
al-Madinah and Meccah. So many accounts of the Pilgrimage are now 
available in English in addition to this, that it is unnecessary to repeat 
all these details here. 


^ The pilgrim road from Baghdad and Najaf to Madfna is known 
as the Darb Zubayda^ after the wife of Caliph Hiriin ar-Rashfd, who 
built reservoirs all along the route and provided endowments from 
her property for their upkeep. The route, consequently, has scarcely 
changed for twelve hundred years. According to Hamddnf, the 
ilations from Madina to Fayd were : Taraf (24 Arabic miles), Batn 
Nakhl (20 m.), ‘Usayla (28 m.), Ma‘din an-Naqira (26 m.), al-Hijir 
(28 m.), Samiri (23 m.), T6z (25 m.), Fayd (24 m.) : total, 196 
Arabic miles or 234 English miles. Ibn Battdta, evidently travelling 
by half-^ages, takes six days to reach ‘Usayla (I cannot find his Wddi’l- 
‘Ariis), then takes the alternative road through Naqira inftead of Ma‘din 
an-Naqira, rejoins the main route at Qdriira (between Ma‘din an- 
Naqira and al-Hijir, and 12 miles from the latter), and thence follows 
it without variation. Al-Makhriiqa — the perforated hill— is shown on 
MusiPs 1 : 1,000,000 map 27 English miles S.W, of Fayd, at 26.50 N., 
41.36 E., and Fayd itself at 27.08 N., 41.5 3 E. 

* Yiqiit adds that a portion of the provisions and heavy baggage is 
given in remuneration to the parties in whose care they arc left. 



® The various Plages on the journey between Fayd and Ktifa, 
totalling 277 Arabic miles or 330 English miles, need not be detailed 
here. “ Devil’s Pass ” is probably the pass marked ash-Bhe^eb on 
Musil’s map, at 30.11 N., 43.42 E. W^qisa is shown at 30 38 N., 
43.51 E., Lawza lies 16 English miles N. by E, of W^qisa, al-Masijid 
or al-Musayjid 56 m. S. by W. of Najaf, Mandrat al-Qurdn appears 
as Ummu Quriin, a sanftuary 30 m. S. by W. of Najaf. Qddisfya is 
fifteen miles due south of Najaf. The battle to which I bn Battiita 
refers was fought in 637, five years after Muhammad’s death, and 
resulted in the complete rout of the Persian army and the occupation 
of ‘Iriq by the Arabs. 

* The son-in-law of the Prophet, and fourth Caliph, assassinated 
in 661. His tomb is held in peculiar reverence by the Shi‘ites, along 
with that of his son Husayn at KarbaU (see Ch. I, note 22). For the 
meaning of qaysariya see note 29 below. 

® The eve on the 27th Rajab is known as Lu.ylat a/-Mi*‘rdjy or 
Night of the Prophet’s Ascension. See Ch. I, note 30. 

* Ahmad ar-Rjfi‘f, died 1182 and buried at Umm ‘Ubayda, was 
the nephew of Shaykh ‘Abd al-gddir al-Jfldnf, and founder of the 
Rifi'lya order of darwishes, a sub-group of the Qidiriya order, and one 
of the principal orders in Egypt at the present day. The name of 
Ahmad! darwishes, which Ibn Battiita gives to the order, is now usually 
given to the sub-group founded by Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawf, who was 
a disciple of the convent of Umm ‘Ubayda and died at Tanta in Egypt 
in 1276. 

The apparent shrinkage of Basra was due not entirely to decay, 
but to a gradual ea^ward shifting of the city : cf* note 10. 

® The nuqra was an Egyptian silver coin worth about fivepence ; 
see Chap. XII, note 18. 

® Ibn Battiita’s audience would all, of course, be familiar with the 
faft that it was at Basra that the rules of Arabic grammar were systema- 
tized in the second century after Muhammad, the “ leader ” referred 
to below being Sibawayh, the author of the firft large systematic 
grammar of Arabic. 

UbuUa occupied the site of the present town of Basra, the medieval 
city of Basra lying on a canal to the weft of the Shatt al-‘Arab, and a 
mile or two eaft of the modern town of Zubair. 

Now Bandar Mashur, on Khor Musa, an inlet eaft of the delta, 

The petty Haziraspid dynafty, founded in the mountains of 
Liiriftan in the twelfth century, maintained itself throughout the 
Mongol period. Their capital tdhaj, on the Dujayl river, is now 
called Milamfr. The title Atdbeg (“regent”) was adopted by all 
the minor dynafties which eftablished themselves after the break-up 
of the Saljuq empire in the twelfth century. 

The beauties of Rukn Abdd have been immortalized by the 
famous poet H^fiz of Shiraz, a younger contemporary of our traveller. 



Better known as Uljiytii (reigned 1305-1316), the eighth and 
penultimate of the line of Mongol ilkhdns of Persia (not to be confused 
with his contemporary Uljdytti, grandson of QiibiUy Khdn, Mongol 
Emperor of China, 1294-1307). As a child tJljdytd had been 
baptized into the Chri^ian Church. 

Qaribagh was in the mountainous di^lrifl: N. of Tabriz, across 
the Aras river (see Ciavijo in this series. Map II and p. 362). The 
Mongol sultans maintained the nomadic habit of migrating to the 
highlands in the summer. 

Ibn Battiita appears to have confused his firit visit to Shirdz with 
his second, on his return journey in 1347. As related a few lines 
below, Shaykh Abtj Ish^q, of the house of fnjti, did not obtain 
possession of Shirdz until after 1335, when his relative and predecessor 
Sharaf ad-Din Shdh Mahm6d fnjii was put to death by the Mongols. 
In 1347 he was ^lill at the height of his power, and in 1356 or 1357 
he was captured and put to death by the rival house of the 
Muza 0 arids. 

The great palace of the pre-Islamic Sisinid kings of Persia at 
Ctesiphon, the ruins of which are ^11 to be seen a few miles below 

The author of the famous Rose Garden {CjuliStdii) and other 
poetical works, died in 1291. 

Zayddn is defined as a village between Arrajin (now Bihbihan) 
and Dawraq (now Fall^hiya), one day’s march from the latter and 
less than three days from Arrajdn (Schwarz, Iran, IV, 384). 

Huwayza is the modern Hawfza, seventy miles N. of Muhammarah. 

Kiifa (a few miles north of Najaf) was, with Basra, one of the 
garrison cities founded by the Arabs in 638, on their conquest of ‘Ir£q. 
During the short reign of ‘All (see note 4) it was the seat of the 

For the explanation of this tide and the following ceremony see 
Introduffion, p. 38. 

See Chap. I, note 22. 

AftuaDy at this time (and until 1918) Baghdid was no more 
than a provincial town. Its high tide was derived from the pre^ge 
it enjoyed as the seat of the Caliphate from 756 to 1258, when it was 
sacked and largely decoyed by the Mongols. 

In the baths at Damascus the bather receives anything from six 
to ten towels at successive frages. 

The lafr of the line of Mongol or Tatar Ilkh^ns of Persia. 

Dilshid was the daughter of Dimashq Kwijah, the son of Jdbln 
(Ch6bin) whom Abfi Sa*ld had put to deaA. 

A mahalla was the mobile camp, consifring of the royal retinue 
and troops, which accompanied the sultan on his marches. 

Tabriz — ^the Tauris of Marco Polo and other wefrem writers— 
was the capital of the Mongols in Persia. At this period it had taken 



the place of Baghdad as the principal commercial centre in Weilern 
Asia, and was frequented by large numbers of European merchants. 

Between 836 and 883 Samarra was the seat of the Caliphs, and 
was adorned by them with many magnificent palaces and public build- 
ings, of which vestiges ^ill remain. The fort of Ma‘shiiq probably 
occupied the site of the palace of the same name (al-mashuq means 
“ the Beloved erefted by the Caliph Mu'tamid (reigned 870-892). 

The word qaysariya is defined variously as “ a public place in 
which the market is held ” or “ a square building containing chambers, 
storerooms, and flails for merchants.” The name is evidently derived 
from the Latin or Greek, and was used orginally only by the Arabs of 
Syria and North Africa, but its origin is obscure. Of various theories 
which have been advanced the moft probable is that it means a market 
building, privileged or authorized by the ruler (originally in these 
countries, of course, the Casar) in return for a certain fixed payment, 
but no corresponding term has been found in the Byzantine histories. 
It is now applied to the principal market of a town, and I have heard 
the term used in North Africa (Tlemsen) for the main shopping ^reet. 
The provision of gates for bazaars was, and ^ill is, quite common. 
(Dozy s,v. ; le Strange, La»^s of the Ealiem Caliphate^ P* ® 9 )* 

Sinjir is evidently misplaced. It is moil probable that it was 
visited on the way back from M^ridin to Mosul. 

Dar£, “ the rampart of the Roman Empire,” was built by Juilinian 
as the frontier fortress over againil the Persian territories. 

The fortress of Maridm was assigned in 1108 by the Saljuq 
ruler of Baghdad to Il-Gh^zz “ one of the moil redoubtable of Muslim 
warriors againil the Crusaders ” (Lane-Poole), whose descendants, 
known as the Ortuqids of Miridin, retained possession of the city and 
its environs until after the death of Tamerlane, Al-Malik as-S£lih, 
the twelfth of the line, reigned from 1312 to 1363. 

The ritual “ hastening to and fro ” between the hillocks of 
Safi and Marwa, said to be in commemoration of Hagar’s search 
for water for her son Ishmael, though usually performed on foot, is 
frequently carried out by pilgrims on donkeys or camels. ^It has been 
left for the present ruler of Najd, Sultan *Abd al-‘Azlz Al-Sa‘ud, to 
perform it in an automobile. 


^ Ra’s Dawi*ir, which is said to mean “ The Cape of Whirlwinds 
(or Whirlpools),” is not mentioned in any work which I have consulted. 
It can hardly be other than the headland now called Ra’s Raweiya 

^ The passages in this chapter dealing with the Ea^ Coa^ of Africa 
have been annotated by L. M. Devic, 1 / Pays des Zendjs^ Paris, 1883, 



(21® N.), and it is quite possible that Dawd’ir is in faft a wrong 
transcription of this name. 

^ Hali, properly “ Haly (with consonantal y) of the Son of Ya'qiib,” 
was a large town on the highroad from San‘d to Mecca some thirty 
miles inland, and forty miles S.E. of Qunfuda, in a di^i£l sufficiently 
fertile to produce three crops a year. The port of Hali is a small 
sheltered anchorage in the diftrift now called Asfr, at 1 8 . 36 N., 41 . 1 9 E. 
At this time Hali was subordinate to the sultan of Yemen. (Hamddnl 
188; Redhouse, HiSory of the Resuliyy DynaUy I, 307; III, 169; 
Handbook of Arabia 136, 144.) 

^ A place named Sarja is mentioned as a halt on the San‘i-Mecca 
road, ten Radons before Haly (Hamddnf 188), but Ibn Battista’s port 
of call was Sharja, an anchorage in the neighbourhood of Luhayya 
(to be distinguished from Sh 4 rja in Trucial ‘Omin). (Qalqashandi V, 
14 ; Redhouse op. cit. Ill, 148). 

* Zabid was the winter residence of the sultan, Ta‘iz2 being the 
summer capital. Zabid lay fifteen (Arabic) miles from the coa^, 
which is called in the Arabic authors Ghaldfiqa, and its port was 
al-Ahw^b (not al-Abwdb, as in the printed text). (Qalqashandi V, 
9-10 ; Redhouse III, 149.) 

® The subut an-nakhl^ literally “ Palm Saturdays,” were a well- 
known feature of the social life of Zabid. According to Redhouse it 
was a local Saiumaita, and perhaps originated in the pagan times 
before the advent of Islam ” {pp. cit. III, 186, 1^7). 

® Yemen, the Arabic name for Arabia Felix, consists of a high 
central table-land dropping abruptly to the coastal plain on the south 
and we^. The mountains intercept the summer monsoon rains, 
and the country, being in consequence predominantly agricultural, 
has always enjoyed a greater measure of culture than the re^ of the 
peninsula. San'i, the ancient and present capital, lies in the mountains 
in the interior ; Ta‘izz lies closer to the edge of the hills at a height of 
4,000 feet. The Rasfilid dynaiiy, of which ‘Ali (reigned 1321-63) 
was the fifth sovereign, made themselves independent of Egypt in 
1229, and continued to govern Yemen until the middle of the fifteenth 

It was the pra£ticc of Muslim rulers to provide accommodation 
for ambassadors and visitors of quality and to supply them with pro- 
vision or a daily sum of money in lieu thereof. Chardin, in his Travels 
in Persia, in the seventeenth century, relates that the Shih had “ above 
three hundred houses in Ispahan which are properly his own. . . . 
They are all large and fine, are almoft always empty, and run to ruin 
for want of being kept up in sufficient repair. These they give to 
ambassadors and persons of consideration that come to Ispahan.” 
Alternatively accommodation might be provided in some of the 
numerous religious e^ablishments. See also C/aviJo, p. 122. 

® It was cuftomaiy in Islamic larfds for the sovereign to pray in 



a part of the mosque railed off with a carved wooden screen, called 
the maqsdra or “ enclosure.” This pradtice was adopted partly as a 
measure againA assassination. 

® From as-SazodAU (“ The coaft lands ”), the name given by the 
Arabs to part of the coaft of what is now Kenya and Tanganyika 
Territory, is derived the name of the Swahili language. Zanj is a word 
of unknown origin, employed in medieval times to denote the negroes 
of £a^ Africa, and ^tiU preserved in the name of Zanzibar. 

This appears to mean, not that the island is two days’ journey 
from the mainland (from which it is separated only by a narrow strait), 
but that the Sawdhil country began two days* journey to the south- 

See note 1 5 to Chapter XIV. 

In^ead of including them in the ordinary revenue and using them 
for the general expenses of government, as was more often done. 

Dhof^r is backed by a high ridge which receives the summer 
monsoon rains, and is covered in consequence with tropical vegetation. 
The outlying population is not Arab, but of a Sudanic type. 

A small island in the Kuria-Muria group. 

According to Muhammadan law, no animal is lawful for food 
unless its throat has been cut before death. 

“ Masira Island, the Sarapis of the unknown author of the 
Periplus^ famous even in those days for its tortoises, and inhabited, then 
as now, by ‘ settlements of Fish Eaters, a villainous lot, who use the 
Arabian language and wear girdles of palm-leaves * ” (Sir A. T, Wilson, 
Geog, y,, 69, 236-7, quoting from SchoflF, Periplus). 

Sdr and Qalhit owed their importance to their position at the 
southern end of ‘Om£n, juA north of Ra’s al-Hadd, the firft point in 
Arabia reached by ships coming from India. Qalhit is Marco Polo’s 
“ Calatu ... a noble city. . . - The haven is very large and good, 
and is frequented by numerous ships with goods from India.” It also 
played an important part during the Portuguese period. 

‘Om^n Proper lies inland, on the slopes of Jebel Akhdar. 

According to the local hifrorians the succession of Azdite imams 
of ‘Omdn reigning at Nazwa was broken between 1154 and 1406, 
during which period a rival tribe, the Band Nabhin, whose seat was at 
Makniyit in the Dhihira, became overlords of the country. From 
Ibn Battdta’s account, however, it is clear that the Azdite imamate 
at Nazwa continued to exiil, or was refrored before 1332. (G, P. 

Badger, Imams and Seiyids of Oman, 37, 41 ; Wellfred, Travels in 
Arabia, I, 215.) 

The island of Ormuz, S,E. of Bandar Abbas. The island was 
captured by the Portuguese in 1512, and held by them until 1622, 
when it was recovered by the Persians with English aid. 

21 « They c^ these deadly pefriferous Storms Bad Bammoun, that 
is to say, the Winds of Poison. ... It rises only between the 1 5th of 

35 ^ 


June and the ijth of August, which is the time of the excessive Heats 
near that Gulph. That Wind runs whisT:lmg through the Air, it 
appears red and inflam’d, and kills and blasts the People ; it strikes 
in a manner, as if it stifled them, particularly in the Day time. Its 
surprizing Effefts is not the Death it self, which it causes ; what’s mo^t 
amazing is, that the Bodies of those who die by it, are, as it were, 
dissolved, but without losing their Figure and Contour ; insomuch that 
one would only take them to be asleep ; but if you take hold of any piece 
of them, the Part remains in your Hand ” (Chardin, Travels in Persia 

(1927), 136). 

This is taken by Schwarz {Jran im Mittelalter^ III, 133) to be 
the same as Khawriil^n (otherwise called Sarviftan), about fifty miles 
S.E. of Shirdz. If so, the insertion of the town here is an error due to 
Ibn Battuta’s faulty recoUedion of his route on the return journey from 
India in 1347 (see note 3 to Chap. XII), when he muft have passed 
through Khawri^lin on his way to Shirlz. It is very unlikely, however, 
that an Arab should reproduce Khawri^ldn as Kawr^stin, unless the 
name was pronounced so locally. 

Lar lies about 120 miles N.W. of Bandar Abbas. 

The “ hospitality gift ” consi^ed of food or gifts in kind supplied 
to distinguished visitors (see note 7 above). 

Khunjubal is probably a double name. The second part is 
mentioned by Yaqiit as Fdl, and described as a large village, verging 
on a town, at the southern extremity of the province of Pars, near the 
seacoail. He adds that it lay on the route between Hormuz and 
Huzii (a fort on the mainland opposite Kish island, now gaPat al- 
‘Ubayd). The fir^ part of the name appears on our maps as Hunj 
or Hunju, 27.04 N., 54.02 E. (Schwarz, Iran III, 132; II, 80; 
Z.DM.G,, 68, 533). 

Ibn Battiita has fallen into a considerable error here. The 
ancient port of Sirdf, once the entrepot of the Persian Gulf, was situated 
near the present Tahiti, gays or Kish is an island some seventy miles 
further south, which in the twelfth century supplanted Sirdf, and was 
itself supplanted by Hormuz about 1300, Hormuz in turn being 
supplanted by Bandar ‘Abbds in the seventeenth century. 

The more exaft Chardin says : “ The divers that fish for pearls 
are sometimes near half a quarter of an hour under water.” 

The underground waterbearing beds of eaftern Arabia discharge 
into the sea at Bahrayn. During the Turkish occupation, the sailors 
used to dive into the sea and bring up fresh water in a leather sack for 
the use of the commander, and the Portuguese supplied themselves in 
the same way by pumps. There is a ^ory that a camel once fell into 
a spring at al-Hasi, and was never seen again until it came up in the 
sea near Bahrayn. 

A full description of the oasis of al-Hasi or Hajar (the former 
meaning Pebbles and the latter Btones)^ of which the chief town is now 

353 aa 


called Hofuf, will be found in the Geog, Journal^ 63 (1924), pp. i8g- 
207. It appears from this article that at Hasa there is a con- 
siderable sprinkling of Shi‘ahs, mo^ly descendants of Bah^rina (Bahrayn 
Shi‘ahs), who settled in the oasis long ago.” 

Formerly the chief town of Najd, the sand-buried remains of 
which lie 58 miles S.E. of the present capital Riy^d, at 24 07 N., 
47.25 E. (see Philby, Heart of Arabia^ II, 31-4). 


^ Btldd ar-Rnm^ literally “ the land of the Greeks,” though used 
of the Byzantine territories generally, was naturally applied more 
specially to the frontier province of Anatolia. After some temporary 
conquests in earlier centuries, it had been finally overrun by the Saljuq 
Turks between 1071 and 1081. Down to the end of the thirteenth 
century, the whole peninsula, except those sections which were held 
by the Christians (Byzantium, Trebizond, and Armenia) or the ruler 
of ‘Iriq, owed allegiance to the Saljiiq sultan of Konia, but from a 
little before 1300 it was parcelled out between a score of local chiefs, 
whose territories were gradually absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, 

^ The port of 'AUyi was con^trurEted by one of the greatest of the 
Saljiiq sultans of Riim, ‘Aid ad-Din Kay-Qubad I (1219-37), and was 
renamed after him. To the Western merchants it was known as 
Candelor (from its Byzantine name ka/otf oros). Egypt, being notori- 
ously deficient in wood, has always needed to import large quantities 
of it for the building of fleets, etc. 

^ Adaliya, known to the Wedlern merchants as Satalia, was the 
modi important trading dlation on the south coadl of Anatolia, the 
Egyptian and Cypriote trade being the modi adive. The lemon is 
dlill called Adaliya in Egypt. 

^ The closing of the city gates and exclusion of Chridlians at night 
and during the hours of the Friday service was observed until quite 
recently in a number of places on the Mediterranean seaboard, such as 
Sfax, probably as a measure of precaution againdl surprise attacks. 

® The hidlory of the organizations called by the name of Futdwa is 
dlill obscure. They appear firdl in the twelfth century in several 
divergent forms, which can probably all be traced to the Sdfis, or 
darwi'sh orders. The word futHwa^ “ manliness,” had long been 
applied amongdl the latter in a moral sense, defined as “ to abdlain from 

^ The seiElion relating to Anatolia has been translated and axmotated 
by Defremery in Nouvelles Annales des Voyages^ Dec. 1850-April 
1851, and that relating to the Crimea and Qipchaq by the same in 
Journal Asiati^ue^ July-Sept. 1850. 



injury, to give without ^int, and to make no complaint,” and the 
patched robe, the mark of a Sufi, was called by them lihds al-futuzva^ 
“the garment of manliness.” It was applied in a more aggressive 
sense among the guilds of “ Warriors for the Faith,” especially as the 
latter degenerated into robber bands, and it is in reference to the 
ceremony of admission into one such band at Baghdad in the middle 
of the twelfth century that trousers are lir^ mentioned as the symbolic 
libds al-fuittwa (Ibn'al-Athir XI, 41). A few years later Ibn Jubayr 
found at Damascus an organization called the Nubuya, which was 
engaged in combating the fanatical Shfite sefts in Syria. The 
members of this warrior guild, whose rule it w’as that no member 
should call for assistance in any misfortune that might befall him, 
elefted suitable persons and similarly invented them with trousers on 
their admission. 

In 1182 the Caliph an-Ndsir, having been invented with the iibds 
or trousers by a Siifl shaykh, conceived the idea of organizing the 
Futuwa on the lines of an order of Chivalry (probably on the Frankish 
model), condlituted himself sovereign of the order, and beftowed the 
Iibds as its insignia on the ruling princes and other personages of his 
time. The ceremony of installation included the solemn putting-on 
of the trousers and drinking from the “ cup of manhood ” {ka*s al^ 
futdwd)y which contained not wine, but salt and water. The order 
took over from its Siifi progenitors a fidtitious genealogy back to the 
Caliph ‘All (see Chap. II, note 4), and continued to exidt for some 
time after the reign of Nasir in a languishing dtate. The Brotherhood 
which Ibn Battuta found in Konia, and which \vas distinguished from 
the other guilds in Anatolia by its special insignia of the trousers and 
its claim to spiritual descent from ‘Ali, was probably a relic of the order 
founded by the romantic Caliph. The remaining Anatolian organiza- 
tions seem to have been local trade-guilds with a very ^rong infusion 
of Sufism, oddly combined with a political tendency towards local 
self-government and the keeping in check of the tyranny of the Turkish 
sultans. (See generally Thorning, Turkische Bibhothek^ Band XVI 
(Berlin, 191'^), and Wacyf Boutros Ghali, La Tradition Ckevahrtsque 
des Arabes (Paris, 1919), pp- 1-3 3 )* 

^ This passage seems to mean that by taking boats across Egerdir- 
Gul and Kirili-Gul (the lake of Beyshahr, which Ibn Battuta apparently 
regarded as joined to Egerdir-Gul) Akshahr and Beyshahr could be 
reached in two days. Defremery thinks that this Aqshahr is not 
Akshahr, but the town of Oushar or Akshar, near Egerdir-Gul. 

^ Gul-Hisar, according to Defremery, was a small fortress, after- 
wards destroyed, on the edge of the lake of Buldur ; le Strange on the 
other hand places it on Sugud-Gul, weil oi I^anoz. 

See note 5 above. 

® This is the well-known Mevlevi fraternity, or “dancing dar- 
wishes,” which was iniSb’tuted by Jaldl ad-Din in memory of his mailer 



Shamsi Tabriz (the sweetmeat-seller of Ibn Battuta’s ^ory). Jalal 
ad-Din, who died at Konia in 1273, is generally held to be the greatest 
of the Persian mystical poets. (See R. A. Nicholson, Selected Foern^ 
from the Dwdni Shamsi Tabriz^ Introduction.) 

Birgi is the ancient Pyrgion, in the valley of the CayiSler. There 
is an obvious gap in Ibn Battdta’s narrative at this point, since he can 
hardly have crossed the entire breadth of Anatolia without touching 
some town or another, even if he went by the direft road from Sivas 
through the central plateau. It is more likely that he retraced his 
route to some extent towards Konia and thence through Egerdir. 

This refers to the capture of Smyrna in 1344 (many years after 
Ibn Batt6ta*s visit) by a crusading force, with the assiilance of the 
Knights of St. John. 

Fdja (Fuggia, the ancient Phocaea), which had been ceded by 
the Palffilogi to the Genoese family of Zaccaria, was an important 
trading station, the Zaccaria family having sole control of the alum- 
mines there and of the ma^c trade of Chios (which they had seized in 
1304). It is not quite certain whether the Fdja of this period was 
Old Phocaea (Eski Foja) or New Phocaea (Yeni Foja). 

Ibn Battiita’s account is one of the few firfthand accounts we 
possess of the early days of the Ottoman Empire. Brusa is said to 
have surrendered to the Turks in 1326, the year of ‘Othmin’s death, 
and Nicaea fell in 1329, but ho^lities again^ both cities had begun 
very much earlier (see H. A. Gibbons, Foundations of the Ottoman 
Empire^ 46-8), With regard to the name ‘Othmdn Chiik, given to 
‘Othmdn, Prof. Kramers has suggefted that it was derived not direftly 
from the Arabic name 'Othmdn, but from the fortress of Osmanjik 
on the Kizil Armak (Z.i).Af.G., 81, LXII f.). 

I prefer this, the reading of the be^t MS. to the reading “We 
treated her kindly,” which is adopted in the text. 

Burlti is identified by Defremery with Boyalu, S.W. of Ka^amuni. 

More commonly called Solghat, now Stary-Krim, in the interior 
of the Crimea. At this time it was the residence of the Mongol governor 
of the Crimea, and later on the seat of an independent Khanate. 

The Khanate of Qipchaq or the Golden Horde was the welter n- 
moit of the four great Mongol Khanates established in the thirteenth 
century, and was itself at this time divided into the Blue Horde and 
the White Horde. Though the latter held a titular suzerainty, the 
Blue Horde, whose appanage was on the Don and Volga, was aftually 
the more powerful, and their territories extended from Kiev and the 
Caucasus to the Aral Sea and Khiva. Sultan Muhammad Uzbeg, 
who reigned from 1312 to 1340, was one of the greatest of the Khans 
of the Blue Horde. 

CalFa, now Feodosia, was rebuilt by the Genoese towards the 
end of the thirteenth century as their principal trading station on the 
northern coa^ of the Black Sea. 



Muslims hold the ringing of bells in the greatest abhorrence, and 
attribute to the Prophet the saying : “ The angels will not enter any 
house wherein bells are rung.” 

I take this to be the eAuary of the Miuss river, we^l of Taganrog. 

The legal alms or “ tithe ” amounts to two and a half per cent. 

The ruins of M 4 jar (now Burgomadzhary) lie on the Kuma 
river S,W. of Aftrakhan, no kilometres N.E. of Georgiewsk, at 
44.50 N., 44.27 E. 

Beshtaw, one of the foothills of the Caucasus, is a wooded hill 
rising to a height of nearly 1,400 metres, juA north of Pyatigorsk, 
about 35 kilometres S.W. of Georgiewsk. 

There appears to be no record in the Byzantine hi^orians of 
the marriage of a daughter of Andronicus III (who was thirty-five years 
of age ill 1331) to a Khan of the Golden Horde, but there are at leait 
two inilances Ijefore this of bastard daughters of the Emperor being 
given in marriage to Tartar chiefs. 

Bulghar, the ruins of which lie on the left bank of the Volga 
ju^ below the junftion of the Kama, was the capital of the mediaeval 
kingdom of Great Bulgaria, annexed by the Mongols in the thirteenth 
century. It possessed great commercial importance as the diftributing 
centre for Russian and Siberian produfts. It is difficult to understand, 
however, how Ibn Battiita could have made the journey from Mdjar 
to Bulghdr, some 800 miles, in ten days ! 

This term apparently designates Northern Siberia; see Yule’s 
Marco Polony II, 484-6. 

It has been pointed out in a note to Yule’s Marco Poh (II, 488) 
that this Ukak is not the well-known town of that name frequently 
mentioned by the mediseval writers, which was situated on the Volga 
about six miles below Saratov, but a small place mentioned in the 
portolans as Locachi or Locaq, on the Sea of Azof. The silver mines 
of which Ibn Battiita speaks are certain mines of argentiferous lead-ore 
near the river Miuss (a river falling into the Sea of Azof, about 
22 miles weft of Taganrog). ... It was these mines which furnished 
the ancient Russian rubles or ingots.” 

Surdiq or Soldaia, now Sudak, in the Crimea, was until the rise 
of Caffa (see note 1 8) the principal trading port on the northern coaft 
of the Euxine. It is not clear why the party should have made a detour 
through the Crimea ; possibly Ibn Battuta has confused the details of 
the route, and visited Surd^q during his ftay at Stary Krim. 

There seems to be no clue to the position of this sanftuary, but 
from Ibn Battfita’s description it was somewhere between the Dni6pr 
and the Crimea. It has been suggefted that from this Baba Saltiiq 
(transported to Baba Dagh in Moldavia in 1389) arose the cult of 
Sari Saltik associated with the Bektashi order (see F, W. Hasluck, 
Jnn, Brit, 8 cL Athens XIX, 203-6 ; XX, 107, note i). 

Ibn Battuta’s route through Thrace to Conftantinople is totally 



unrecognizable from his account of it. Here, as again in China, the 
unfamiliarity of the names has led to jHirange perversions, especially 
when reproduced from memory after a lapse of twenty years. The 
frontier city of the Empire in 133 1-2 (the date which mu^ be assigned 
to this journey in spite of Ibn Battdta’s chronology) was Diampolis, 
otherwise KaviSli (now Jamboli), for which “ Mdhtiih' ” may perhaps 
pass. The “canal” is evidently a tidal river or estuary, and one 
naturally thinks of the Danube, though this involves a serious mis- 
placing. But Fanika is probably Agathonfk^, where the main road 
from Diampolis crossed the Tunja (Tontzos) river, at or near Kizil 
Agach. The “ Fortress of Maslama ibn *Abd al-Malik ” belongs to 
the legendary accretions to the history of the Arab expedition against 
Constantinople in 716-7, of which Maslama was the commader-in- chief. 

Kifdli is a transliteration of the Greek kephak^ head, chief. 

The Emperor at this time was Andronicus III, grandson of 
Andronicus II. The title Takfur (from Armenian king ”) 

was applied by the Muhammadan writers to the Emperor and the 
other Christian kings in Asia Minor, probably as a rhyming jingle 
with the title given to the Emperor of China, Faghfur (for Bagh-pdr, 
the Persian translation of the Chinese title “ Son of Heaven ”). There 
is some difficulty in explaining how Ibn Battiita came to call the retired 
Emperor Andronicus II (who had abdicated in 1328, become a monk, 
and died on February 13, 1332) by the name of George. 

The ceremonial here described is in accordance with the practice 
of the Byzantine court, afterwards adopted by the Ottoman sultans 
when they captured Constantinople. 

The Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but carried up 
to Heaven, and that a figure resembling him was crucified in his Stead, 

The number of monks and churches in Constantinople seems to 
have Struck moSt travellers at this time, Bertrandon de la Bloqui&re, 
who spent the winter of 1432-3 there, estimates the number of 
churches at 3,000, and implies that the greater number of the inhabi- 
tants lived in monasteries. See also ClavijOy p. 88. 

Barbara is a transcription of hyperpyrony the debased dinar of the 

There were two cities of “ Sarray in the land of Tartarye,” which 
were successively the capital of the Khans of the Golden Horde; 
Old Sarai, situated near the modern village of Selitrennoe, 74 miles 
above Astrakhan, and New Sarai, which embraced the modern town of 
Tsarev, 225 miles above Astrakhan. Sultan Muhammad tJzbeg 
moved the capital from Old Sarai to New Sarai about this period, moSt 
probably a few^ years before. Ibn Battfita's description agrees beSt 
with New Sarai, the ruins of which extend over a distance of more 
than forty miles, and cover an area of over twenty square miles. (See 
F. Balodis, in Lawijas Universitates RakBi {ARa XJnhersitatis Latvi-^ 
ensisy XIII (Riga, 1926), pp, 3-82.) 




^ The ruins of Sardchuk or Saraijik lie a short distance from the 
shore of the Caspian Sea, near Guryev, at the mouth of the Ural river. 

^ The name Khwaiizm was applied throughout the middle ages 
to the principal town for the time being of Khorezmia, the di^lrift now 
known as Khiva. At this time it was the town of Kunya Urgench. 

® The glass vessels and wooden spoons were for the use of those 
whose religious susceptibilities debarred them from using the gold 
utensils, which are reprobated by dtrift Muhammadans. 

* Almaliq or Almaligh rose suddenly into prominence at the begin- 
ning of the thirteenth century, and was ruined in the civil wars between 
the successors of Tarmashirin in the Jaghatdy Khanate (see note 7), 
whose capital it was. It was situated in the valley of the Ili river, some 
di^ance N.W. of the modern town of Kulja. 

^ Kit or Kdth, a former capital of Khorezmia, ftood near the modern 
town of Shaykh Abbas Wali. 

® The force of this indidment lies in the fad that Bukhdrd was 
formerly one of the principal centres of theological dudy in the Islamic 

’ “ Turkidan and the lands beyond the Oxus,*’ whose sultan has 
been included in a previous passage among the seven great sovereigns 
of the world, was one of the four Mongol Khanates into which the 
empire of Chingiz-Khdn and his successors was divided. Its rulers 
were known as the Jaghatdy-Khans, after Jaghatay, the son of Chingiz- 
Khin to whom this country was assigned as an appanage. Ibn Battdta 
relates a curious dory of the fate of Tarmashirin. His conversion to 
Islam roused the ill-will of the nobles, who charged him with violating 
the precepts of Chingiz-Khin, and in 1335 or 1336 rose in revolt, 
Tarmashirin fled across the Oxus, but was captured and reported to 
have been put to death. Later on a man arrived in India, claiming 
to be Tarmashirin, but though his claim is said to have been subdan- 
tiated, the sultan, for political reasons, rejefted it and had him expelled. 
He eventually found a refuge at Shiriz, where he was dill living in 
honourable confinement when Ibn Battuta revisited the town in 

1347- . . . , 

® Now known as Shdh-Xinda, The mausoleum is dill one of the 
principal edifices of Samar qand. 

® From 1245 Herat was ruled by the local dynady of the Karts, 
which under this king Husayn (commonly called Mu‘iz2 ad-Din, 
reigned 1331-70) became an important power in Khurdsdn. As he 
was dill a child at the time of Ibn Battdta’s visit the following anecdote 

^ This chapter has been annotated by Defremery in Nouvelles 
Annales des Foyages, January-July 1848. 



probably relates to a period some nine or ten years later. Husayn’s 
son Ghiyath ad-Din Pi'r Shah became a vassal of Tamerlane in 1381, 
and on his death in 1389 the dynasty was extinguished. 

The penalty prescribed by Islamic Law for wine-drinking is 
forty ftripes. 

The town, which lies S-E. of Meshhed, is now known as Shaykh 
Jam. The province of Khurasan, which Ibn Battuta had now entered, 
was at this time sTiill under the rule of the Mongol sultan of Persia and 
‘Iraq, at lea^ nominally. 

The name of Mashhad means literally Mausoleum of ar-Ridd, 
ar-Rida being the title by which the Imams of the Shi^ites are known. 
The Imim buried here is the eighth of the line, ‘All ibn Miisa, who 
died in 81S a.d. Caliph Hariin ar-Rashid died at Tiis in 809 while 
leading an expedition to the frontiers of Khurasdn. 

Now Turbat-i Haydari, south of Meshhed. The order in 
which these towns are mentioned seems to be thoroughly confused, and 
Sarakhs in particular should come either between Jam and Tiis, or 
else on the return journey from Biildm. 

Bistdm lies S.E. of A^lerabad, at the S.E. angle of the Caspian 


Here again there is a gap in the narrative, since from the Caspian 
Ibn Battiita leaps across to northern Afghani^lan, where jJundiSz lies 
on the river of the same name, and Baghlan on the same river some way 
to the south. The ea^ern half of Afghanistan as far south as Ghazna 
was at this time subje6l to the Jaghatiy-Kh^ns. 

Ibn Battuta followed the route across the Khiwak Pass (13,000 
feet high), N.E. of Kabul. 

Mahmiid of Ghazna, who reigned from 998 to 1030, paved the 
way for the establishment of Muhammadan rule in Northern India 
by his merciless raids into Sind, Panjab, and the neighbouring provinces. 

It is impossible to determine, on the basis of this description, the 
adtual route by which Ibn Battiita entered India. The tale about the 
Afghan highwaymen indicates a regular road, and Shdshnaghdr has 
been identified with Hashtnagar, near Peshawar; these statements 
together would point to the Khyber Pass. On the other hand the 
mention of a desert extending for fifteen days, together with Ibn 
Battuta’s visit to Ghazna (erroneously inserted before Kabul) indicates 
some more obscure route through the Sulayman mountains, leading 
out to the lower course of the Indus. 




^ I'he postal service {barid) in Muhammadan countries, as in 
classical times, was purely an official organization for the rapid trans- 
mission of s^ate business, and could not, of course, be utilized by private 

® The cu^oms of the Simira so clearly indicate their Hindu origin 
that their identification with the Arab Samira mu^f be regarded as a 
fiftitious genealogy dating from their conversion to Islam. It appears 
that these Sdmira are the Rajput Sammas, who about this time made 
themselves mailers of Lower Sind. Janini therefore lay probably 
halfway between Rohri and Sehwan. 

The summer heats in Sind fall in the months of June and July, 
and as Ibn Battuta reached the Indus in September there would appear 
to be a gap of some nine months in the narrative. It is more probable, 
however, that his chronology is slightly out, or else that the party 
experienced an unusual spell of heat. 

* Ibn Battuta explains below that the title king was given in India 
to governors of provinces and other high officials. 

® The ruins of Lihari Larrybunder ”) lie on the northern side 
of the Rdho channel, some 28 miles S.E. of Karachi, by which it was 
supplanted about 1800 owing to the shoaling of its entrance. The 
expression “ on the coa^ *’ mu^l not be taken too literally, as the shore 
is uninhabitable to a depth of several miles owing to the conftant 
inundations during the S.W. monsoons. 

® The ruins described by Ibn Battdta have not been identified with 
certainty. Haig suggested that they might be those of Mora-mari, 
eight miles N.E, of L^hari, and it has also been suggefted (firft by 
Cunningham) that they were the ruins of Daybul or Debal, a former 
port on the Indus 45 miles E.S.E. of Karachi, which was captured and 
burned by the Arabs on their invasion of Sind in 7 10-7 1 5. 

^ Bakhar (Bukkur in the Indian Gaze/leer) is a fortified island in 
the Indus, lying between the towns of Sukkur and Rohri. 

® This stream was the old channel of the Rawi, which at this time 
joined the united Jhelum and Chinab below Multan. 

^ Ajddahan should have come before Abohar. 

Xusay can hardly represent Krishna, as the French translation 
suggests ; more probably it ftands for gusdi, “ religious teacher ” (“ also 
name of deity ” — Platt’s Hindustani Diftionary). 

^ Ibn Battdta’s travels in Sind are discussed by M. R. Haig in 
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1887, pp. 393-412. The entire 
travels in India and China (covering Chapters VI to XI) have been 
translated and annotated by H, von Mzik, Die Reise der Arabers Ibn 
Batuta durch Indien und China, Hamburg, 191 1. 



^^The ruins of Mas'uddbid lie a mile ca^ of Na jafgarh, and six 
miles W. by N. of Palem Nation. 

The ruins of inediseval Delhi lie some ten miles south of the 
present city, Delhi proper, Jahan Pan^h, and Siri in a continuous line 
N.E. from Mahrauli, Tughlaqabad four miles ea^ of Delhi proper and 
two miles ea^l of modern Tuglakabad. This group of towns never 
recovered from the loss infli£led on it by Sultan Muhammad, as related 
below by Ibn Battuta, and again suffered severely from Timiir (Tamer- 
lane) in 1398. New Delhi was the creation of the Mogul sultan 
Shdh Jahdn (1627-58). 

Some account of the early Muhammadan sultans of Delhi will be 
found in the Introdudtion, pp. 22-24. 

Here, as also in his description of the Kutub Minar and ‘Ma’i 
Minar below, Ibn Battdta’s figures are exaggerated. The iron pillar 
of Chandragupta, which was brought from Muttra and set up at Delhi 
by its Hindu founder in the eleventh century, is 1 6 inches in diameter 
and 23 feet in height. The Kutub Mindr is 238 feet high, the 
unfinished portion of the ‘Ald’i Minar (wrongly attributed by Ibn 
Battdta to Qutb ad-Din) 70 feet high, and neither is so wide as he 
represents it to be. 

The charafter of Sultan Muhammad ibn Tughlaq portrayed in 
this passage is ^ri<£lly historical; see Introdu6tion, p. 23. 

Dawlatdbad or Deogiri lies in the N.W. corner of the Slate of 
Hyderabad (Deccan). Sultan Muhammad decided to make it his 
capital, in view of its importance as a base for military operations in 
Southern India, and twice (or thrice) attempted to remove thither the 
whole population of Delhi. By the irony of fortune, however, it was 
captured during his lifetime by the founder of the Muhammadan 
Bahmini dyna^ of the Deccan. See also Chap. VII, note 7. 

In a previous se(Elion, omitted in this edition, Ibn Battiita relates 
at length the history of Shaykh Shihab ad-Dfn. He had incurred the 
sultan’s displeasure fir^l by refusing to take office under him, and spent 
some years in an underground dwelling he dug for himself near Delhi, 
and which contained several rooms, ftore-rooms, an oven and a bath. 
On being summoned again to the court he openly branded Muhammad 
Shdh as a traitor, and when he refused to retradl his ^atement, was 


^ Yule has sugge^ed that this is Sambhal in Rohilkhand, some 
eighty miles eail of Delhi {CatAay, IV, 18). 

Jaldli is a small place ii miles S.E. of Aligarh. The fa< 3 : that 
the country within a hundred miles of Delhi was in so diAurbed a ^ate 
throws a curious light on the nature of Sultan Muhammad’s “ empire.” 



Mawri is possibly Umri, near Bhind. Marh is not known, but 
evidently lay ea<l of Gwalior. 

^ There is a village of Alapur a few miles S.E. of Gwalior, lanbil 
is probably the same name as the river Chanibal, and the infidel sultan 
the Rajah of Dholpur. 

® Parwan is almo^ certainly Narwar in Gwalior ^late (Ibn Battuta 
here as elsewhere rendering a strange name by one more familiar, 
namely Parwan in Afghanistan), which was, according to the Indian 
Gazetteer, “ once a flourishing place on a route between Delhi and the 
Deccan.*' Modern maps show also a place called Parwai, 25 miles 
N.E. of Narwar and 30 S. of Gwalior. 

As regards Kajarri, there can be no que^ion that this is Khajuraho, 
27 miles E, of Chhatarpur and 25 N.W. of Panna, in spite of the detour 
ivhich it involves on the journey. The description given by Ibn 
Batti'ita is in complete agreement with the description of the site 
contained in Sir Alexander Cunningham's Reports [Archaeological 
Purvey of India, Reports for 1862-5, Vol. II, pp. 412-439). 

® If, as is probable, this is Dhar in Malw'a, it should come after 

^ The fortress of Deogiri is described as follows in the Indian 
Gazetteer : “ The fortress is built upon a conical rock, scarped from 
a height of 1 50 feet from the base. The hill upon which it v<l:ands rises 
almost perpendicularly from the plain to a height of about 600 feel.” 
It was fir^l captured by the Muhammadans in 1294, and Sultan 
Muhammad ibn Tughlaq, recognizing its importance as a base for 
operations in Southern India, renamed it Dawlatabad, and conceived 
the idea of making it his capital. Even before his death, however, it 
had been seized by a rebel governor, and it remained independent of 
Delhi until the reign of Akbar. 

® Cambay, at the head of the Gulf of Cambay, was at this time 
one of the principal seaports of India. Its decline was due to the 
silting-up of the Gulf, and the bore of its tides, and it is now used 
only by small craft, 

® K^wa, a small place on the opposite side of the bay from Cambay. 

Qandahdr is certainly an Arabicization of Gandhar or Gundhar, 
known to medieval seamen as Gandar, on the estuary of the small 
river Dhandar a short distance south of Kawa. 

The name Jalansi probably represents the Rajput tribal name 
Jhalas, dtill preserved in the name of the di^tridt of Jhalawar or Gohelwar 
in Kathiawar, 

“ The small island of Perim or Piram, near the mouth of the Gulf 
of Cambay, which was a notorious pirate ^ronghold until shortly before 
this time, when it was captured by the Muhammadans and deserted. 

Sandabiir or Sindabiir was the name by which the island and 
bay of Goa were known to the early Muslim traders, and taken from 
them by the flrft European travellers. The older name Goa did not 



come into general use until the sixteenth century. It was captured by 
the Muhammadans for the firil time in 1312, and was subsequently 
taken and retaken more than once. 

The sites of these medieval ports, many of which no longer exi^l, 
are discussed by Yule, Cathay y IV, 72-79. 

The name of this kingdom. Hi or Eli, has left a trace in Mount 
Belly, The medieval port is probably now represented by the village 
of Nileshwar, a few miles north of the promontory. 

Calicut, which Ibn Battdta has already ranked (p. 46), as one 
of the great seaports of the world, decayed rapidly after the e^ablish- 
ment of the Portuguese trading stations in the sixteenth century. The 
title of its ruler, c^ed by Ibn Battdta the Samari (which is an adapta- 
tion to Muslim ears of a foreign name, Sdmari being a word familiar 
to theologians as the legendary ancestor of the Samaritans), is the 
Malayalam word ^dmUtiri or Bdmuri meaning “ Sea-king,” more 
familiar to European readers in its Portuguese form Zamorin. 

The purpose of these was to tow the junk in calm weather, as 
Ibn Battijta explains below (p. 278). 

Although a considerable part of the distance between Calicut 
and Quilon may be traversed by inland waterways, it does not seem 
possible to go the whole way by water. Ibn Battuta here, as again in 
the description of his travels in China, neglefts the land ^ages. 

S^ilon, ranked by Ibn Battiita with Calicut, was from very early 
times the transhipment port for the Chinese trade. It is mentioned 
by the Arab and Persian sailors of the ninth century under the name of 
Kawlam-Malay, and fell^ into decay, like its rival Calicut, in the 
sixteenth century. Yule suggests that the title Tirawari given by Ibn 
Battiita to its ruler may be the Tamil-Sanskrit compound Tiru-pati 
‘‘ Holy Lord ” {Cathay y IV, 40). 

“ Always a sign that tHngs were going badly with Ibn Battdta ” 

Shaliy^t, the Portuguese Chiliate or Chale, now Beypore, 6 \ 
miles south of Calicut. The fabrics manufaftured here were of various 
kinds, and the name shali is ^lill used for a soft cotton fabric. It is 
possible that the name of this town is the origin of the French chdley 
and hence our shawL 


^ Although the Maidive Islands had long been known to sailors 
and travellers, and had become Islamized in the twelfth century, Ibn 
Battlita's narrative is the earlier descriptive account we possess of the 
islands and their inhabitants. Many of his names can ftill be traced 
on the map. 

® Maidive kalu’^bili-maSy black bonito fish, from its black appearance 
after smoking. 



^ The “ mountain of Sercndib ” is Adam’s Peak. Serendlb is the 
old Arabic and Persian name ot Ceylon (commonly derived from the 
Sanskrit Simhala-dmpa^ Lion-dwelling-island), which was gradually 
replaced by the Pali form Sihalam=Saylan= Ceylon. 

^ The old Sinhalese kingdom of Ceylon was invaded about 1314 
by the Pandyas, w'hosc own kingdom at Madura in Ma‘bar, which had 
exi^led since at Ica^t the third century b.c., was now in the hand.s of 
the Muhammadans. The leader of the invaders was Arya Chakra- 
varti, but Ibn Battuta’s patron was more probably a later general of 
the same name, who in 1371 crefted forts at Colombo and elsewhere. 
The seat of the Pandyas was in the island of Jaffna. 

^ The hollow on the summit of Adam’s Peak, venerated by the 
Muslims as the imprint of Adam’s foot, was equally venerated by the 
Brahmans and the Buddhiils, as the mark of Siva’s and Buddha’s foot 

** Kunakar is certainly Kornegalle (Kurunagala), the residence of the 
old dyna^ of Sinhalese kings at this period. The name Kunar is 
explained as Sanskrit Kunwary “ Prince.” 

‘ These chains are ^ill in exigence. 

^ Dinawar (which is properly the name of ^ medieval town in 
Kurdi^lan, to the N.E. of Kirmanshah) here ^ands for Dewandera, 
the site of a famous temple of Vishnu (desT:royed by the Portuguese in 
1587), near Dondra Head, the southermo^l point of Ceylon. 


^ Harkdtii cannot be the modern town of Arcot, which lies too far 
north. As it was only a fort its location is very doubtful, though the 
name is probably connedled with the diftrift of Arcot (Tamil aru-kaduy 
six forces). 

^ Jaldl ad-Din, who had been appointed by Sultan Muhammad of 
Delhi to the poft of military governor of Ma'bar (which had been 
occupied by the Muhammadans in 1311), made himself independent 
about 1338, and was murdered five years later. The throne was then 
occupied by a succession of generals, of whom Ghiyath ad-Din was 
the third. 

^ Of the many -patans and -patams of the Coromandel coaft, it 
is difficult to determine exactly the original of this Fattan, The 
principal port of medieval Ma'bar was Kaveripattanam, at one of the 
mouths of the Kaveri, said to have been destroyed by an inundation 
about 1300. If this was Ibn Battuta’s Fattan, its de^truftion mu^t 

^ The sedlions dealing with Bengal, the Archipelago, and China 
have been annotated by Sir Henry Yule in Cathay and the Way Thither y 
new edition revised by H. Cordier, Vol. IV, Hakluyt Society, London, 



be dated nearer r^i;o (see Marco Poio^ II, 335 "^)- I'attan may, 
however, have been Negapatam, which was an important harbour m 
after centuries. Yule*s conjecture that the place mu^l be farther south, 
in the neighbourhood of Ramnad, is unlikely if the name Harkaiu has 
anything to do with Arcot (see note i). At some time during his visit 
to Ma‘bar, on the other hand, or else on his journey from Fattan to 
Kawlam, Ibn Battuta mu^t have called at the small port of Kayliikarf, 
lo miles S. of Ramnad, which he afterwards transported to somewhere 
in the China Sea (see Chap. X, note 9). It is Grange that Ibn Battuta 
does not mention the port of Kayal, Marco Polo’s Caii^ situated in the 
delta of the Tamraparni river, south of Tuticorin, which was a very 
important trading Elation at this time (see Marco Poloy II, 370-4.). 

* This is identified, following Yule, with the Pigeon Island, 25 miles 
south of Onore (Hinawr). 

® This statement is impossible to reconcile with any chronology 
of Ibn Battuta’s travels in the Far Ea^. Judging by the course of the 
narrative, this second visit cannot have been made later than a year 
after his departure from the Maidive Islands. 

^ Sudkawdn is identified by some authorities with Satgaon (Satganw), 
a ruined town on the Hooghly lying N.W. of Hooghly town, which 
was the mercantile capital of Bengal from the days of Hindu rule 
until the foundation of Hooghly by the Portuguese. Yule, with more 
probability, identified it with Chittagong (Chatganw), which was 
a more convenient port than Satgaon, and is “ on the shores of the 
Great Sea,” as described by Ibn Battiita. There seems, however, to 
be some uncertainty whether Sultan Fakhr ad-Din had any connexion 
with Chittagong (cf. Book of Duarte Barbosa^ II, 139). 

" Jiin, which is Ibn Battijta’s transcription for the Jumna, here 
obviously represents the Brahmaputra {cf p. 52). 

® Lakhnaoti (Lakshmanawati), the ancient name of the town of 
Gawr, long the capital of the Muhammadan governors of Bengal 
after its conque^ in 1204, the ruins of which are situated near Maldah. 
The name was retained for one of the three di^lridls of Bengal (see 
note ii), covering the area between the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. 

® It has been fully established by Yule {Cathay^ IV, I5i-S)> that 
the diilridi: visited by Ibn Batttita was Sylhet, where the tomb of Bhah 
Jeiai (=Shaykh J^l ad-Dln) is ^till venerated. The name Kdmrii, 
more correftly Klmriib (for Kdmardpa), was applied to the di^tridl 
roughly corresponding to Assam, whose Indo-Chinese population 
(Khasis, etc.) present the usual Mongolian charaAeri^tics. 

The Blue River can only be the Meghna, and on the left bank of 
the Barak, one of its headwaters, there is ^ill a tiiiah^ or low hill, called 
Habang, a little to the south of Habiganj. 

Sonargaon (Sunarganw), 15 miles S.E. of Dacca, was one of the 
old Muhammadan capitals of Bengal, and gave its name to one of the 
three di^ri£ls of Bengal, the third being Satganw. 




^ ^ Barah Nakir, formerly identified, on account of the description 
given by I bn Battuta of the natives, with the Andaman or Nicobar 
Islands, has been shown by Yule to have been more probably on the 
mainland of Arakan, in Burma, near the island of Negrais. But the 
text of Ibn Battuta appears to make Barah Nakdr the name of the 
people rather than that of the country [Cathay ^ IV, 92 ; Marco Poio^ 

“ The name Jiwa was applied generally to the Malay Archipelago, 
J'iwa “ the less ” being the island of Sumatra, and Jiwa “ the greater ” 
or Jiiwa proper the island now called Java. The introdudlion of 
Islam into Sumatra was effefted gradually by traders and missionaries 
from Southern India during the thirteenth century. The beginnings 
of Muslim rule in the island date from the la^f decade of the same 
century, probably a few years before the foundation of the town of 
Sumatra. Al-Malik az-Zahir was a title borne by several of the 
Muslim rulers. 

^ On the jack- tree see Yule and Burnell, Hobion-Johson. 

^ The jamiin is a small fruit resembling an olive but sweet, as Ibn 
Battuta explains in an earlier passage. It is not the same as the jambu 
or rose-apple. See Hobson- J ohson under both entries. 

® I suspeft the word translated “ houses ” to refer to some kind of 
official eftablishments. In ^Irid grammar the word sarhd may be taken 
to refer to the “ houses (as in the translation), but is more probably 
the name of the port. 

® Mul-J£wa has usually been taken to mean the island of Java, but 
Yule adduces several cogent reasons for identifying it with the Malay 
Peninsula, In accordance with this view the port and city of Qiqula 
are to be placed on the ea^l coaft of the Malay Peninsula, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Kelantan. 

Qamdra is almost certainly Khmer, the ancient name of Cambodia, 
on the opposite side of the gulf of Siam [Cathay^ IV, 1 5 5). 

^ This somewhat aggressive phrase was the regular formula of 
greeting to non-Muslims [cf, p. 214), the words as-Saldm ^Alaykum 
(“ Peace be upon you ”) being ftnftly applicable only to true believers, 
although, as we have seen, Ibn Battiita occasionally took the liberty of 
infringing this rule (p. 159). 

® The “ motionless sea,’^ which in this passage Ibn Battijta calls 
by the Arabo-Persian name al-bakr al-kdhily is referred to by other 

^ Ibn Battdta’s travels in the Indian Archipelago have been anno- 
tated also by E. Dulaurier, in Journal Asiatique^ February-March, 
1847, and by G, Ferrand, in Textes arabes^ etc., relatifs d F Extreme- 
Orient, t. II (Paris, 1914), pp. 436-455. 



contemporary writers under varying names (e.g., the pitchy sea, the sea 
of darkness) as lying in the extreme ea^. It seems therefore to corres- 
pond to our China Sea or some of the neighbouring waters. The 
following words in Ibn Battuta’s narrative show that it was on the 
regular route. 

^ The problem of identifying the king Tawilisi and his city of 
Kayliikari is one that has exercised the ingenuity of all Ibn Battuta’s 
commentators. Celebes, Tonkin, Cambodia, Cochin-China, the 
province of Kwan-si, the Philippine Islands, and the Sulu Archipelago 
have all been suggested. Yule accepts the la^t solution as more probable 
than any other, but only after confessing to “ a faint suspicion . . , 
that Tawdlisi is really to be looked for in that part of the atlas which 
contains the marine surveys of the late Captain Gulliver.” The mo^l 
surprising detail in the narrative is not the exi^lence of the princess of 
amazonian charafteriftics, but her Turkish name (already given by 
Ibn Battdta as the name of Sultan Uzbeg-Khdn’s fourth queen, see 
above p. 148) and Turkish speech. Yule, followed by Dr. von Mzik, 
sugge^s that the details of her prowess may be derived from the ^lory 
of Kaydd-Kh£n’s valiant daughter Aijaruc, which Ibn Battiita may 
have heard from some of the ship’s folL Aijaruc is in fad a Turkish 
name, and it is quite probable that Ibn Battiita, whose memory for 
strange names was not of the bed, confused it with the similar-sounding 
Urduji. In the same way Kayliikarf was really the name of a seaport 
in S.E. India (see Chap. IX, note 3), which Ibn Battiita has confused 
with the name of king “ Taydlisi’s ” port [Cathay, IV, 157-60 ; Marco 
Polo, II, 465 ; G. Ferrand, Textes relatifs a T Extreme-Orient, 431-3). 


^ The description of this great river, traversing China from north 
to south and flowing into the sea at Canton, has sometimes been taken 
to prove that Ibn Battiita’s journey to China, or at lead in China, is 
a pure fidion. It mud, however, be borne in mind that he knew no 
more of China than the fringe which he himself visited, supplemented 
by what he could gather from various (and doubtless not always reliable) 
informants, and in this passage he is merely reproducing the common 
view of his time. The “ River of Life” is, in its fird sedion, the 
Grand Canal, between Peking and the Yang-tsi. The merchants 
on the coad knew vaguely of the inland water sydem conneding 
Hang-chow and the Yang-tsi with the Wed River and Canton, prob- 
ably byway of the Siang-kiang, and consequently regarded the eduary 
of the P ei-kiang as that of the entire sydem. There is greater difficulty 
in explaining Ibn Battuta’s statements that Zaytiin (Ts’wan-chow-fu) 
was linked by inland waterways with both Canton and Hang-chow, 
where presumably he was speaking from personal experience. As 


we have seen above, however, in connexion with his land journey 
between Caliciit and Quilon (Chap. VII, note 17), Ibn Batttita simply 
omits all reference to the land Plages as secondary, or he may possibly 
have forgotten about them in the ten years that intervened between 
his visit to China and the dilation of his travels. It is not irrelevant 
to note that other writers, including even some Chinese sources, also 
speak of Zaytiin as being on the same water system as Hang-chow 
(Khansd or Quinsay). (See in addition to Yule and von M2ik, 
R. Hartmann in Der Islam, IV, 434.) 

® Friar Odoric of Pordenone also remarks, in connexion with 
Fuchow, “ Here be seen the biggeil cocks in the world ; but he says 
of the geese at Canton that they are “ bigger and finer and cheaper 
than anywhere in the w'orld ” {Cathay, II, 181, 185). 

® hn {Voyage duMarckand arahe Sulayman , , . en 

851, tr. G. Ferrand, p. 55) tells us that the Chinese buried their dead, 
as they do at the present day. Marco Polo, however, constantly 
refers to the pradtice of cremation, which muft therefore have been 
a common cultom in China at this period. 

^ The bdlisht or hdlish, originally an ingot of metal weighing 
about 4J lbs., was the currency of the fteppes at the beginning of the 
thirteenth century. The term was probably brought into China 
by the Mongols. On Chinese paper-money see Marco Polr^ I, 423^. 

® According to Marco Polo, the owner of used notes paid three 
per cent, on the value on receiving new pieces (I, 425). 

® Cathay {;Khitiiy\ a term employed firil by the Muhammadans 
and from them by European travellers and missionaries from the 
thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, denoted the northern part of 
China, in contra^ to Sin or China proper in the south. The name was 
certainly derived from the Kitiy or Khit^y Turks, who founded a 
dynasty (the Liao) which reigned at Peking during the tenth and 
eleventh .centuries. The name Sin or Chin (China) is, in all prob- 
ability, to be derived similarly from the Ts^in dyna^y (255-209 b.c.). 

^ In this passage Ibn Batiiita obviously confuses coal and porcelain 
clay, possibly owing to a cu^lom followed in China of powdering the 
coal and mixing it with clay to form “ patent fuel ” (see Marco Polo, 
I, 442 - 3 )- 

® It is generally admitted that the city known to all Muham- 
madan and Christian travellers in the Middle Ages as Zaytiin is Ts’wan- 
chow-fu (ChUan-chow-fu, 24.53 N., 118.33 ^ 0 * arguments 

in favour of this identification, together' with an examination of the 
claims of Chang-chow-fu (Amoy), will be found in extenso in Marco 

® Yule adduces some strong arguments for the derivation of satin 
from %aytM through medieval Italian zettani {(Cathay, IV, 118). 

Sijilmdsa was in the neighbourhood of Tafilelt, in Southern 
Morocco ; see below. Chap. XIV, note i. 




I take the timJn mentioned in this passage to be, not the 
“Council” (whatever organization that may have been), but the 
institution commonly known by that name in North Africa and Egypt 
in all ports open to foreign commerce, from which originated the 
Italian dogane and French douane. It was at one and the same time 
custom- house, warehouse, lodging house and bourse for foreign 
merchants (for which reason Ibn Battuta is lodged in it), and its con- 
troller was one of the principal officers of the realm (see Mas Latrie, 
Relations et Commerce de VAfrique Septentrionale^ 335 jfO- A similar 
organization appears to be indicated in the Chinese ports. A few 
lines below Ibn Batttita says of Canton that it was “ in the province ” 
of the controller of the diwAn^ probably in the sense that the trading 
Elation there was also under his jurisdiftion. 

The sense of this passage is quite clear. According to the Koran, 
the legal alms are to be given to “ parents, kindred, orphans, the poor, 
and the wayfarer.” The Muhammadan community at Zayt\in was 
so wealthy that the only one of these five classes to which the alms were 
of any value was the la^l. 

The Arabic and Persian writers (like Marco Polo) conventionally 
use the term QJn or Qa*dn for the “ Great Khan ” of the Mongols. 
It is not, however, as Yule considered, a different title from the ordinary 
Turkish title Kkdqdn (see Shiratori, Memoirs of Research Dept, of the 
Toyo Bunko^ No. I, Tokyo, 1926, pp. 19-26). 

Sin-kaUn is an Arabicized form of the Persian Chin-kalin, for 
Sanscrit Mah 4 cfna= Great China, w^hich is also the meaning of the 
Arabic name Sfn as-Sin. 

The text is defeftive at this point, due either to the miswriting 
of a word, or to the omission of another word. 

Ibn Battiita’s route “ up the river ” from Ts’wan-chow to Canton 
is, in the nature of things, uncertain. Yule thinks of a route up the 
Min from Foochow, and down the upper reaches of the Kan to the 
Pei-kiang via the Mei-ling Pass. It seems a peculiarly roundabout 
journey, when much more direft communication is offered by the 
Mei and the Tung, if these are navigable. 

This temple has not been identified with any certainty. Yule 
suggests that it is the Temple of Glory and Filial Duty, near the N.W. 
corner of the modern city. 

The site of the Rampart of Gog and Magog, the building of 
which is described in the Koran and attributed to Alexander the Great, 
was a ilanding problem to the Arabic geographers. It was generally 
regarded as lying at the north-eaffern end of the habitable world, and 
was vaguely confused with the Great Wall of China. But Ibn Battlita 
could have had no idea that China was within the Wall, and his queilion 
appears to have been put at random, perhaps on hearing some chance 
reference to the Great Wall. 

Marco Polo also speaks of a race of cannibals in the mountains 



between Fukien and Kiang-si or Che-kiang (II, 225 *, cf. H. Schmidt- 
thenner in Zeitschrift der Ges.fur Erdkunde zu Berlin^ 1927, p. 388). 

Tlic identification of Qan-jan-fu is ^lill uncertain. If Ibn 
Battuta is correfl in placing it between Zaytun and Khansa, its position 
will depend on the route which he followed. Yule identified it with 
Kien-chang-fu on the Fu-ho in the province of Kiang-si, and the next 
Ration Bay warn Qutlfi with the Po-yang Sea. The objeftions to this 
identification are that (i)-it involves a very roundabout journey to 
Hang-chow, and would indeed cut out Hang-chow altogether ; 
(2) there is no evidence tor the existence of a frequented trade- 
route (such as Ibn Battijta’s route is represented to be) through Kien- 

Since Ibn Battfita took 31 days for the journey to Hang-chow, 
while Marco Polo took 27, travelling in the reverse direction, there are 
very good grounds for assuming that their routes were sub^antially 
the same. In this case the mo^l natural identification for Qan-jan-fii 
is Fuchow. In favour of this are: (i) the size of the city, with 
a governor of its own and a large garrison (which corresponds very 
well with Marco Polo’s description) ; (2) the arrival of “ a very large 
vessel ” at the port, since Marco Polo expressly plates that “ From 
Zayton ships come this way right up to the city of Fuju by the river 
I have told you of, and ’tis in this way that the precious wares of India 
come hither.” The name which Marco Polo gives to the diilrift of 
Fuchow, Chonka or Concha (the proper name of the city being Chin- 
kiang), may possibly explain the transformation into Qan-jan-ffi* 
On the other hand, Marco Polo allows only five days from Fuchow 
to Zaytfin, which would suggeft some place further up the Min river 
(on the navigability of the Min see Marco Polo, II, 234). 

Dulaurier suggested that Qan-jan-fu may ^and for Chin-kiang-fu 
at the junffion of the Yang-tsi and the Grand Canal, in which case 
it should come between Khansa and Khin-baliq (Peking). Similar 
instances of misplacing are, as will have been noticed, not infrequent 
with Ibn Battdta, but Chin-kiang-fu scarcely seems large enough to 
fit his description. M. Ferrand takes Qan-jan-ffi to be Marco Polo’s 
Kenjanfu, the old capital of China, now Si-an-fu on the Wei river in 
Shen-si, which was called Khumddn by the Arabic geographers. This 
identification, however, hangs together with M. Ferrand’s thesis that 
Ibn Battiita did not go to China at all. It is safest to assume cither 
that Qan-jan-fd was a name used by the Muslim merchants for Fuchow 
(like Zaytfin for Ts’wan-chow), or that Ibn Battfita has confused two 
similar-sounding names. 

The Ghdta is the name given to the wide plain covered with 
fruit-trees around Damascus, 

It would be a wa^e of time to search for anything corresponding 
to this name on a modern map of China, and its position can be deter- 
mined only by reference to the other towns mentioned. It is quite 



possible that it was not a place-name at all, but the name of some 
Turko-Tatar commander (? Bayan Qutlugh='‘ Bayan the Lucky ”) 
which Ibn Battiita erroneously took to be the name of a town. 

It is agreed by all travellers, both Chri^ian and Muslim, that 
what Marco Polo calls the mo^ noble city of Kinsay , . . beyond 
dispute the finest and nobleft in the world ” was indeed the largest 
city in the world in the fourteenth century. The admiration it aroused 
lent itself to exaggeration, and when even Marco Polo avers that 
“ it hath an hundred miles of compass. And there are in it twelve 
thousand bridges of flone, for the mo^ part so lofty that a great fleet 
could pass beneath them,” it is not to be wondered at that in Ibn 
Battiita’s account there are, in Yule’s phrase, “ several very questionable 
ftatements.” The name Khans£ is an Arabic modification (to accord 
with the name of a famous Arabic poetess), as Kinsay, Cansay, Cassay, 
etc., are European modifications, of the Chinese King-sze “ Capital,” 
Hang-chow having been the capital of the Sung synaily from 1 127 to 

The word translated citadel means “ inner city occupied by the 
ruler or governor.” The viceroy’s palace was not in the centre of 
Hang-chow, however, but at the southern end. 

In the Chain of Histories we are told that On reaching the age 
of eighty a man is exempted from paying the poll-tax, and receives 
a grant from the imperial treasury. The Chinese say of this “We made 
him pay the tax when he was young ; now that he is old we will give 
him a pension ’ ” (Ferrand, Voyage du marchand Sulayman^ P- ^3)- 

Qurtay appears to be a contraftion of Qardtdy, a common 
Turkish tide, but no governor of this name is mentioned in Chinese 
works, so far as is known. It is probable that it was the title given to 
the commander by the Turkish troops, like many other of the terms 
employed by Ibn Batttita in this seftion, which are not Chinese but 
Turkish or Persian. In the same way he gives as the name of the 
Emperor his Perso-Turkish tide of “ king ” ; see below, note 32. 

Towa or tuwi is a Turkish word meaning fea^l or feifival. 

^ Yule, remarking that the “ pretty cadence ” is precisely that of 

We wonU go home till mornings 
gives a “ somewhat free ” rendering ; 

My heart given up to emotions, 

Was o’erwhelmed in waves like the ocean’s ; 

But betaking me to my devotions, 

My troubles were gone from me ! 

The lail line of the poem, however, neither reads nor scans properly, 

Marco Polo also speaks at length of pleasure parties on the lake, 
but does not mention mimic batdes (II, 205). 

This statement is juftifiably chsdlenged by Yule, who regards 



it as so contrary to taft, tliat one’s doubts arise whether Ibn Battuta 
could have travelled beyond Hang-chau ” (^Catkay, IV, 137). 

Peking, called by the Mongols Khan-Bahq, “ City of the Khan,” 
the Cambalu and Cambuluc of Weftern writers. The name Khdniqu 
has been explained as an adjeftive, “(City) of the Khan” (Journal 
Asiatique^ May IQ13, p. 701). 

See Chap. II, note 12. 

Probably a corruption of the Persian pddshdk^ “ king ” (see note 
25). The reigning Emperor was Togon Timur (reigned 1333-71). 

Q^raqorum, the firift capital of the Mongols, the site of which 
is now occupied by the monasTiery of Erdeni-tso, lay above the right 
bank of the Orkhon river, about 200 miles W.S.W. of Urga and 
20 miles S.E. of Karabalgasun, in Outer Mongolia. 

Bishbaliq was situated on or near the present Guchen, to the eaft 
ol Urumtsi in Dzungaria. 

Ibn Battiita here gives an accurate account of the ceremonial 
observed at the burial of a Tatar chief, but it is obvious that it cannot 
have been the Emperor’s burial which he witnessed, if indeed the 
narrative is at firsthand. 

As this Firuz appears to be totally unknown, and as the seat of 
the Great Kh^ns was not removed to Qaraqorum until after the death 
of Togon Timur in 1371 (if the Chinese records are true), the exigence 
of this passage in a book of which a copy written in 1556 is ilill extant 
is a problem better suited for investigation by the Psychic Society than 
by the matter-of-fa£t hi^orian. 


^ The rukh is sufficiently well known in Europe, thanks to Sindbad 
the Sailor, to need no explanation. Yule has written in connexion 
with Marco Polo’s account [II, 415-20) a long note discussing possible 
originals for this gigantic bird. One or two Arabic writers had already 
shown some scepticism on the subjeft, and Ibn Battiita, it will be 
noticed, is prudently non-committal. His narrative certainly suggests 
the part played by mirage or abnormal refraction in giving currency to 
this widespread ftory, 

^ Qurayyit (Quryit) ftill appears on our maps ; Shabba and Kalba 
arc not shown, at lea^ under these names, but are probably ^ill in 
exis'lcnce, as there is an almo^ continuous belt of villages along the coait 
of ‘Orndn, 

* Kirzi or Kiizin lay on the right bank of the Sakkin (Mund) 
river, a little above its eastward bend. Ibn Batttita’s route lay up the 
valley of the river from this point to Shiriz. On the main road 
between Bass£ (Fasi) and Shiriz was the town of Khawri^dn, which 
may possibly be Ibn Battista’s Kawri^dn (see Chap, III, note 22). 



* In 1340 the Moorish Sultan Abu’l-Hasan led an army into Spain, 
which was totally defeated by Alphonso XI of Cailile at the Rio Salado, 
near Tarifa, on 30th Oftober of the same year. Alphonso followed up 
his viftory by the capture of Algeciras in 1342, but died in 1350 while 
attempting to retake Gibraltar. The siege of Gibraltar on that 
occasion is referred to by Ibn Battuta in the following chapter. 

® The relations between Shaykh Hasan and Sultan Abu Sah'd have 
already been explained by Ibn Batttita (above, p. 100). 'riiis Shaykh 
Hasan “ the Great,” after an eight-years’ struggle with his rival Shaykh 
Hasan “ the Little,” grandson of the Amir Chiib^n, founded the 
Jald’ir or llkani dynasty, which continued to rule in ‘Wqand Adhar- 
bayjan until the early years of the fifteenth century. 

® Hit and Ana ^till appear on our maps, on the Euphrates to the 
N.W. of Baghdad* Haditha, now called Qal^at Habulia, was about 
3 5 miles below Ana, and Anbar, formerly one of the principal cities 
of ‘Iriq, some distance below Hit, at the head of the Isa canal, the fir^l 
of the great navigable canals uniting the Euphrates with the Tigris. 
The diftrift of Hit was especially remarkable for its immense quantities 
of fruit and its dense population. 

’ Rahba lay some eighteen miles below the junction of the Kh£bur 
river with the Euphrates and we^l of the river, on a loop canal. 

® Sukhna is an important Elation on the routes between the Middle 
Euphrates and Palmyra, about 35 miles N.E. of the latter, 

^ See note 28 to Chap. I. 

A large town now in Turkey, 55 miles N. by E. of Aleppo, 

This plague was the famous “Black Death,” which wrought 
indescribable havoc in the Muslim lands during this year, and is 
probably to be accounted a cata^rophe no less overwhelming than 
the invasions of the Mongols and Tamerlane. Ibn Battfita’s figures 
are not greatly exaggerated ; indeed some estimates are much higher. 
The hiAorian Ibn Khaldun, whose father was one of the viftims at 
Tunis, speaks of it as “ the devouring pe^Iilence which ravaged the 
nations and carried off the men of this generation, which deftroyed 
and effaced many of the fair fruits of civilization. , . , Cities and 
palaces were laid in ruins, roads and waymarks were obliterated. . . . 
It was as though the voice of creation itself had summoned the world 
to abasement and contraftion, and the earth had haftened to obey.” 

The Marinid dynafty of Morocco. See Introduftion, p. 19. 

“The enemy” unqueAionably means the Chri^lians, but the 
phrase does not, in all probability, refer to any organized maritime 
warfare. The only Chri^ian ilate which was not at this time on 
friendly terms with Tunis was Sicily, whose admiral Roger Doria 
had captured Jerba about 1289. In 1335 it, along with the other 
islands, was recovered by the Muslims, and some ineffectual attempts 
upon it were made in the succeeding decades by the Sicilians, It is 
more likely that the vessel fell into the hands of Christian pirates, whose 



ravages in the Mediterranean during these centuries were (in Mas 
Latrie’s view) even greater than those of the Barbary pirates [Relations 
de rAfrique septentrtonale^ pp. 404-7). 

Bulyana does not appear in any medieval or modern works that 
I have been able to consult. I should hazard that the place meant 
is Nabeul, a small port 30 miles S.E. of Tunis, where, according to 
Idrisi, there was a fortress. 

The description of the harbour makes it certain that the port 
was Cagliari, which, as it belonged at this time to Aragon, was a natural 
port of call for Catalan vessels. It is described in the Rizzo Portolan 
as “ bon porto fato per forza de palangade.” The fear felt by Ibn 
Battuta for his safety is explained by the piratical aftivities of its 
inhabitants (“ Les faubourgs de Cagliari servaient de repaire aux 
forbans : Mas Latrie, iSid.^ 405). 

The village of al-‘Ubbdd, usually called Sidi Bii Madin after 
the sandtuary, lies a mile ea^ of Tlemsen. The mosque, built in 
13391 is the finest example of Moorish architedture in Algeria. 

” The Azghanghan (Azgangan in Leo Africanus) were a Berber 
tribe settled near the coa^l between Melilla and the Muliiya river. 

This statement is confirmed by the geographer ‘Omari, who 
relates that the mithqdl (=s=dinar) of gold contained 120 dirhams, 
equal to 60 full dirhams, and that three full dirhams were equal to 
one dirham of good money {nuqrd) in Egypt and Syria. The word 
“ dirham used without qualification, he adds, means “ small dirham.” 
The large gold dinar of the Marinids weighed 87 grains, valued at 
14.50 francs ; the small gold dinar of the Almoravids 65 grains, valued 
at 10.93 francs. Ibn Battfita conilantly refers to the Indian gold 
tangah, which contained 175 grains, as worth Moroccan dinars, 
a proportion which fits the small dinar much better than the large. 
The small dirham at 120 to the gold dinar of the Marinids had an 
absolute value of 1 2 centimes ; if the Almoravid dinar is meant it 
would be worth nine centimes. The highest climate of the value of 
the dirham nuqra of Egypt is in the neighbourhood of 7 5 centimes, 
and it is more usually put at between 50 and 60 centimes (Yule, 
Qathay^ IV, 54^. ; Massignon, Le Maroc dans les premieres annies du 
XFIe Steele (Alger, 1906), 10 1-2; al-‘Omari, Masdlik aUAbsdr^ tr. 
Demombynes (Paris, 1927), I, i73)- 

The phrase is again a reminiscence of Solomon ; see Chap. I, 
note 28. 

I take this to refer to the popular muldkhiya {Corckorus olitotius) 

®^^The Imdmate in this sense is the Caliphate. Ibn Battuta means 
that the dignity of the Weft has been enhanced by the assumption of 
the Caliph’s title Commander of the Faithful by the rulers of Morocco, 
and in particular by Abd Tnin. For the same reason he gives him, 
a few lines back, the throne-title al-Mutawakkil^ adopted by the sultan 



in imitation of the Caliphs of Baghdad. There was no universal 
Caliphate at this time, tht nominal Caliphs at Cairo not being recognized 
in the weft. The sultans of Morocco have retained the title to the 
present day. 


^ For Alphonso XI and the siege of Gibraltar see Chap. XII, note 4. 
The unusually bitter tone of this chapter reflefls the temper which 
animated both Moors and Spaniards during the reconquc^l of Anda- 
lusia, and for centuries afterwards. 

^ Suhayl, which is not mentioned in Idrisi, is described by Maqqari 
(I, 1 03) as “ a large diilrifl: to the weft of Malaqa containing numerous 
villages. Within it is the mountain of Suhayl, which is the only 
mountain in Andalus from which the constellation of Suhayl (Canopus) 
can be seen.” From Ibn Battiita’s account it is clear that it comprised 
the ftretch of coaft between Marbella and Malaga. 

® Al-Hamma, Hot Springs, or Thermae, a place-name which 
occurs very frequently in all Arabic countries. A contemporary of 
Ibn Battdta describes the town as follows : “ The caftle of al-Hamma 
is situated on the summit of a mountain, and those who have travelled 
all over the world declare that there is no place on earth that can compare 
with it for solidity of conftrudlion and for the warmth of its water. 
Sick persons from all parts visit it and s^ay there until their diseases arc 
relieved. In the spring the inhabitants of Almeria go there with their 
wives and families and spend large amounts on food and drink ” 
(Masdiik al-Ahsdr^. 

^ The locality “ preserves to this day its Arabic name, corrupted 
into Dinamar or Adinamar. It is a pleasant and much frequented 
spot close to Granada ” (Pascual de Gayangos, Hiilory of the Muham- 
madan Dynasties in Spain^ I, 349). 

® Sultan Abu’l-Hajjdj Yiisuf I, the seventh ruler of the Nasrid 
dynafty of Granada, reigned from 1333 to 1354. The nature of his 
malady does not appear to be mentioned by other writers. As Ibn 
Battiita did not visit him, it is probable that he did not see the interior 
of the Alhambra. It would have been interefting to have his opinion 
of its architeftural features as compared with other contemporary 

® The reading Bira, which is found in one manuscript, is preferable 
to the reading Tira, adopted in the printed text. No place of the name 
of Tira seems to be mentioned in any Spanish Arabic work. Al-Bira 
is the ancient Elvira, which was supplanted in the Moorish period by 
Granada, and lay fifteen miles to the weft of the latter. The ruinous 
condition in which Ibn Battiita found it was possibly the result of the 
battle of Elvira, in which the Muslims defeated the Caftilians in 1319. 
The town muft have been rebuilt later on, since it is mentioned again 



in the history of Ferdinand’s final campaign against Granada, as having 
been captured by him in 1486 (Pascual de Gayangos, II, 350-1, 377 ; 
Maqqari, II, 805 ; al~ Omari tr. Demombynes, p. 245). 

" Dhakwiin or Zakwan is mentioned by an early writer as a village 
to the we^l of M*ilaqa, and on its capture by Ferdinand in 1485 is 
described as a fortified town with a fairly large population (I bn 
ah^Abbdr, Takmiia^ 348 ; P. de Gayangos, II, 374 ; Maqqarf, II, 

** Marrakush was founded in 1077 as the capital of the Almoravid 
dynaiSly. It was, according to Idrisi, more than a mile long and about 
as much in breadth. The city wall, which dtill stands, is about seven 
miles in length. After its siege and capture by the Marinids and the 
transference of the capital to Fez, it tell into decay. The minaret 
of the Kutubiya mosque is ^ill in exidlence, and is judtly admired as 
one of the fincbl: monuments of Moorish art. 


^ Between the eighth and the sixteenth centuries Sijilmasa was 
the principal trading station south of the Atlas mountains. The ruins 
of the ancient town lie on the Wddi Ziz, over a didlancc of five miles, 
in the neighbourhood of the modern Tafilelt. 

^ The saline of Taghaza lies to the N.W. of Taodeni. On account 
of its salt it formed an important outpodl of the negro empires. 

^ The Wadi Dra, which drains the southern slopes of the Anti- 

Atlas. ^ . . 

The name Massufa appears to have been given at this time to the 
Sanhaja, who, with the Lamtdna, have been from time immemorial 
the principal ^ocks in the wedlcrn Sahara. From Ibn Battdta’s account 
the Massdfa occupied the entire central Sahara from Taghiza to 
Timbuktu, and eastwards as far as Air and the Hoggar. 

* The phrase used m the text (which may be rendered cantaa 
encantared) is taken from the Koran, where it means “ untold wealth.*’ 

^ Tdsarahla probably corresponds to IdrisPs well of Tisar, in the 
desert of Azawwad (Cooley, 14-15). 

' Ibn Baltiita’s travels in the Sahara and Niger territories were firft 
elucidated (on the basis of a very imperfeft text) by W. D, Cooley, 
The Negroland of the Arabs, London, 1841. The full text was trans- 
lated and annotated by de Slane in Journal Asiati^ue, March 1843, 
The material is very fully rehandled by M. Delafosse, Haut-Senfgal- 
Niger,Ym%, 1912 (quoted in the following notes as iif. ;an abridged 

account of Ibn Battdta is contained in tome II, pp. 194-203), and by 
J. Marquart in the IntroduSion to Die Benin- 8 amm lung ... in 
Leiden, Leiden, 1913* 



^ Iwalatan is the plural of WaMta, the place consi^ing, according 
to Leo Africanus, of three hamlets. Modern maps show two places 
called Walata ; Ibn Battuta’s fwalalan is the southern one at 17.02 N., 
6.44 W. It took the place of Ghana as the southern terminus of the 
trans-Saharan trade-route in the thirteenth century (see note 21 below), 
being built (according to Hartmann, Mit. Seff!, Or. XV^, 162) 

on the site of the old Berber town of Audaghusht. 

^ The baobab tree {Jdansonia digita*d), which rapidly attains a 
very great girth,. is frequently artificially hollowed for the borage of 
water, and thus enables settlements to be made in places where there 
are no wells. These trees were introduced for that purpose into the 
Eastern Sudan (Kordofan) from We^ Africa in the eighteenth century, 
but from Ibn Battuta’s description it would appear that artificial hollow- 
ing was not yet praiEtised there. 

® Kuskusd (in French couss-couss)^ the ordinary cereal dish in 
N.W. Africa, is made by beaming coarsely-ground flour, and is served 
up with savoury or sweet condiments. 

® Z^ghari, identified by Delafosse with Dioura, has been shown by 
Lippert to be identical with the village called by Barth Ture-ssangha, 
S.S.E. nf Ba-ssikunnu or Baeikounou (Barthes Travels^ Engl, ed., 
T857-S, V, 481 ; Mit. Bern. Or, 5/., IIP, 198-9). 

Wangara (Wankore, Wakore) is one of the names given by the 
Peuls (Fulani) and Songhay to the people called the Soninke (called 
by the Portuguese Sarakole), and used by extension to mean both 
Soninke and Malinke, thus being equivalent to the modern use of the 
term Mande or Mandingo, which is properly the name of the Malinke. 
Both Malinke and Soninke belong to the same family, the latter to its 
northern group and the former to its central group (Delafosse, 

The ‘Ibadites are the remnant of an important puritanical se£l: 
of the fixit Islamic century, known as the Kkawdrij or Dissenters. The 
only exi^ng communities are found in ‘Omdn, Zanzibar, and the 
M’zab difl:ri£t in southern Algeria, round Ghardaia. The latter are 
noted for their enterprise and success in trade, but hold (or are held) 
very much aloof from the orthodox Muslim population, and it is 
probable that the community mentioned in this passage was an outpo^ 
of M’zabite traders (see also M.S.O.B,^ loc, «V.) 

Kirsakhu is taken by Delafosse to be Kara-Sakho, i.e. market of 
Kara, ‘‘ close to and facing the present locality of Kongokuru, on the 
left bank of the Niger some distance north of Kara.” 

The Kdbara of this passage is probably not the well-known port 
of that name near Timbuktu ; Delafosse regards it as a name of Ja‘fa- 
raba (Diafarabe). 

Zagha or Zighay, more correftly called Jdka or J^ga (Diaga), after 
the ancient capital of the kingdom of Takriir, was a large diibift on 
the N.W. branch of the Niger, half a day’s journey north of Ja‘faraba. 



It was in Takrtr that Islam obtained its firil foothold in the Sudan in 
tlic early part of the eleventh eenlury (Marquart, Bcnin-Sammiung, 
Intr., i so-i, 154, 241). 

Mull was in all probability the di^lritl later called Miiri, on the 
left bank ol the Niger about Niamey, the opposite bank being occupied 
by the Quinburi (perhaps Ibn Battuta’s Qanburni). 

I'he IJfTiiyun of Ibn Battuta are taken by Dclafosse and Marquart 
to be the inhabitants ot the Kebbe (Kiba) di^Iritt. There is, however, 
a great deal to be said in favour of Cooley’s view that the Limis are 
identical with the Lamlam mentioned by other x^rabic geographers, 
and placed by the geographer Bakri (who calls them Damdam) on the 
Niger below G aogao. The latter word unquestionably means “ Canni- 
bals,” and is not the name of a specific tribe* In the Fulbe language 
it became nyam-nyarn (from Fulbe »ytf'^ = eat), which is variously 
reproduced as nam-nam and yam-yam in Arabic script. The term was 
current also on the eaii coasT: of Africa in both forms. Ibn Battuta 
(above, p. 1 1 2) heard at Kilwa that gold dnit was brought to Sofala 
from “ Yufi in the country of the Limis” (see next note), which was 
diiSlant a month’s journey from there. For this trans-continental 
trade see note 33 below. 'Fhe word Nyam-nyam finally became 
particularized as the name of a cannibal tribe in Belgian Congo. 
Kloanwhilo it had passed into Mediterranean folklore ; F. W. Hasluck 
heard from an Albanian muleteer of** an entirely new kind of vampire 
called Niani-Niam soi, which he has seen. You know it because 
(i) it is excessively fond of liver and (2) has donkey’s teeth and (3) large 
feet” (Cooley, 1 12 J'.; Hartmann in M,S*O.S,y XV*', 172 ; Hasluck, 
Letters on Religiors and lolklore^ 9). 

Cooley’s identification (p. 93) of Ytifi with Nupe, on the left 
bank of the Niger betw’een Jebba and Lokoja, has been accepted by 
all later authorities. 

‘ ' In thus linking the Niger on to the Nile (probably by way of the 
Bahr al-Ghazal) Ibn Battuta is at lea^ professing the less erroneous 
of two wrong views commonly held before the discoveries of Mungo 
Park. Idrisi, followed by Leo Afracanus and many early European 
geographers, imagined the Niger to flow we^l, and identified it with 
the Senegal river. 

The Christian kingdom of Nubia was invaded by the sultans of 
Egypt on several occasions betw^een 1272 and 1323- These expedi- 
tions, which were produftive of no advantage to Egypt, hastened the 
break-up of the Nubian kingdom, and early in the fourteenth century 
Dongola fell into the hands of the Arab tribe of Kanz or Kanz ad-Dawla, 
formerly the liereditary amirs of Aswdn. It is the chief of this tribe 
whom Ibn Battuta calls by the name of Ibn Kanz ad-Din, and who, 
though not himself a convert, may be reckoned quite fairly as the firft 
Muslim king of Nubia (Marquart, 253-4). 

I'he name MalH is the Fulani pronunciation of Mande or 



Manding, and was ^i£tly the name of the ruling tribe, not of the town. 
The site of the latter has long been a matter of controversy, Cooley 
(pp. 81-2) placed it near Segu, at a village called Binni ‘‘seven miles 
above Samee,” and took the Sansara river to be a channel of the Niger. 
Delafosse [H,S.N.y II, 181) accepts the view that the site of Malli 
was “ a place situated on the left bank of the Niger, S.W . of Niamina 
and S.S.W, of Moribugu, level with the villages of Konina and Kondu. 

. . . Malli lay therefore a little to the wesT: of the present road from 
Niamina to Kulikoro.” The name Sansara, given by Ibn Battuta to 
the stream ten miles north of Mill!, was found by Barth to be ^ill 
applied to the small tributary which joins the Niger jusT: below Niamina. 
Marquart (105, 191) prefers Cooley’s view, but puts Mill! a little 
lower down the river, a day’s march above Sille (Sele), and identifies 
it with Kugha or Jdga, the Quioquia of the Portuguese, 

[Since the writing of this note and preparation of the map, I find 
that MM. Vidal and Gaillard claim to have definitely established that 
the name of Malli was Nyani, and that it was situated “ near the present 
village of Nyani, on the left bank of the Sankarani, a little to the north 
of Balandugu and to the south of Jeliba (Dieliba), the other capital of 
the same empire,” i.f. at 11.22 N., 8.18 W., about 150 miles S.W. 
of the position shown on the map. See Demombynes, trans. of 
al-‘ Omari’s Maialik al~Absar^ P- i^^ote 2.] 

Delafosse remarks that “ Ddgh^ is the name of a kind ot vulture 
and also that of a demon among the Banmana and the Malinke, and 
is often given as a name to men.” 

The following is a brief account of the early negro empires. 

The earlieft Sudanic empire was that of Ghina (which was really 
the title of its later Soninke rulers). This empire was founded about 
the fourth century, apparently by some white immigrants. The site 
of its capital seems to have changed more than once. From the ninth 
to the eleventh century the Soninke of Kumbi were masT:ers of the 
Ghana empire, until its de^lru£iion by the Almoravids of Morocco in 
1076. A number of small ^ates were coniftituted on its ruins, and 
one of these, the Soninke dynaifty of the Kannte, whose capital was at 
Sosso (to the weil of Sansanding), recaptured Gh^na in 1203 and 
re^ored the Soninke empire. To this was due also the foundation 
of WaMta, as the Muslim inhabitants of Gh^na, refusing to live under 
infidel rule, e^ablished themselves at the water-point of Walata or 
Bird (see note 6). The conqueror, Sumanguru, was killed in battle 
in 1235 with the Malinke, whose king Sunj^ta or Mari Jata annexed 
the Soninke empire, was converted to Islam (see p. 329), and established 
the new capital at MM. He captured and de^royed Ghdna in 1 240, 
and died in 1255. After a succession of rulers, the next emperor of 
importance was Mdsi (Ibn Battdta’s Mansi Mdsi), in whose reign 
(1307-32) the MM empire reached its widest dimensions. Mdsi 
was the grandson of a si^er of Sunjata. The reign of his son and 



successor Mansa Maghan (1332-6) marks a brief retrogressiouj but 
under Mdsa’s brother Sulayman (1336-59), the M£lli regained much 
of their power and prestige. With his death there set in a sharp 
decline, accentuated by civil wars. The Malli kingdom, however, 
ilill remained the moil: powerful of the Niger ilates until the rise of 
the Songhay kingdom (see note 32), and did not finally disappear 
until 1670. 

The addition of “ under all circumitances ’* is a gentle hint that 
things are not so well as they might be. 

The eve of the 27th Ramadan is known as the Laylat al-Qadr^ 
the ** Night of Power” referred to in the Koran. It is believed that 
on this night the gates of Heaven are opened, and all prayers of the truly 
devout are favourably received. 

Bemle in Mandingo means “ platform.” Al-‘Omari describes 
the Umde as an ivory bench surmounted by an arch of tusks. 

J,e “ The Emperor Sulayman has commanded,” in Mandingo. 

Delafosse remarks that this cuilom, like alrno^l aU those described 
by Ibn Battiita, has been retained down to the present day in moft of 
the countries of the Sudan. 

See note 2 1 above. 

See note 31 below. 

Quri Mansa is placed by Delafosse near the present villages of 
Kokri and Massamana, N.E. of Sansanding, and not far from Ibn 
Battiita’s former halting place at Karsakhu (see note 12). 

Mima seems to have been one of the chief towns in the di^lrift 
which Ibn Battfita mentions above under the name of Zdgha (see note 
13). In later times the name was applied to the area above the lakes 
(and possibly including them), corresponding to part of modern 
Masina. According to Barth, the site of Mima is ^ill in existence, 
though now deserted, a few miles wesT: of Lere (Travels, Engl, ed., 
V, 487)- 

Timbuktu was annexed by Mansa Mfisd after the conquest of 
Gao in 1325. In 1333 the town was pillaged and burned in a raid 
by the Mossi from Yatenga (Upper Volta), but was rebuilt by Sulay- 
mdn shortly after his accession. The poet as-Sdhili met Mansi Miisi 
at Mecca during the Pilgrimage, and was persuaded by the sultan to 
accompany him back to the Sudan. He was the architeft of the 
mosques at Gao and Timbuktu, and died at Timbuktu in 1346. 

Gao or Gaogao (which is apparently a variant of the original 
name Kdgha) was an important trading Nation at the convergence 
not only of the salt route from the wesH: and the trans-Saharan route 
from the north-eaii:, but also the trans-continental trade-route. Early 
in the eleventh century it became the capital of the ilate of Songhay 
(Songhoy), on the conversion to Islam of the fiiit Songhay dynasty, 
which is" said to have been of Berber origin. The Songhay kingdom 
was annexed to Mill! by Mansi Mfisi in 1325, but in 1335 the 



dynasty was re-established (with the title of so»nf), though it Still 
remained in at leadl: nominal subjection to Mdlli until the reign of 
Sonni ‘All (1465-92), the laSt ruler of the original Berber line, who 
enlarged his kingdom chiefly at the expense of MalH. He was suc- 
ceeded by his Soninke general Muhammad (1493-1529), the founder 
of the askta dynaSty, who brought Songhay to the height of its power. 
The Songhay empire was broken up and the dynaSly extinguished by 
the Moroccans, who captured Gao and Timbuktu in 1591. 

' The existence of a cowry exchange in the Mdlli empire, alongside 
the salt exchange, is conclusive evidence of the commercial relations 
across the African continent referred to in note 14, as cowries are found 
in Africa only on the eaSt coaSl between the Equator and Mozambique 
[Grande Encyclopedie s.v. Cauri). In Ibn Battdta’s time, however, 
cowries were imported by merchants from the north (al-‘Omari 75-76). 

The description of the Barddma tribe, and particularly of their 
women, corresponds very closely with Barth’s description of the 
Taghama tribe to the south and S.W. of Air. 

Tagaddd or Takaddd was at this time the largest town in the 
Tuareg country. Its Berber sultan, who was nominally subjeft to 
the Emperor of Malli, is probably to be regarded as the ruling chief 
of the Massufa (Sanhaja). The problem of the site of Tagadda is 
not yet cleared up. It is generally taken, on the basis of Barth’s 
identification, to be Tegidda n’Tisemt, 97 miles W.N.W. of Agades. 
Barth added that although “ nothing is Known of the existence of copper 
hereabouts,” a red salt is obtained from mines there. Gautier and 
Chudeau [Missions au Sahara^ II, 257) also remark on the absence of 
copper in the Sahara except at Tamegroun in the Ougarta range 
(29.15 N., 1.40 W.), and ^ate that all the copper used in Air and in 
Ahaggar comes from Europe. The absence of copper at Tegidda is 
confirmed by F. R. Rodd, who thinks that Ibn Battdta’s Tagaddjl 
mu^ be looked for at some considerable distance south of Agades ” 
[People of the Feil^ 452-6). The meaning of the word Tegidda^ 
according to the latter, is “ a small hollow where water colledts,” and 
the name is applied to a number of different places [Cf, H.S.N.y II, 1 9 3 ; 
Marquart, 9 8) . The existence of copper mines at T agadd^ is, however, 
confirmed by al-‘Omari on the authority of Mansi Mtisi (tr. Demom- 
bynes, I, 80-81). 

Kiibar is Gobir, the country north of the present Sokoto, and 
consequently bordering on Tagaddi to the south. Whether Zighiy 
ilands here for the diftrift S.W. of Timbuktu, or for the central areas 
round Kanem and Wadai, vaguely known as Zaghdwa, is quite 

Barnii here stands for Kanem, rather than Bornu in Nigeria. The 
empire of Kanem at this period extended across the central Sahara 
northwards to Fezzan and eastwards towards Dir Ftir, as well as 
into Northern Nigeria. This Idris [1353-76, not to be confused with 



the famous Mai Idris of Bornu in the sixteenth century) was the son 
of one IbrdhJm Nikale, who claimed to be of South Arabian descent 
and was sultan of Kanein from 1307-26. The concealment of the 
king W’as due to a belief in the magical qualities of his office (Barth, 
I, 638-9 ; Meek, Northern Nigeria^ I, 254). 

Jawjawa, more often spelled Kawkaw or Kdkii, the Gaogao of 
Leo Africanus, is either Kuka on Lake Fitri in Wadai, S.E. of Kanem 
or else Kuka in Bornu (Marquart 95 ff,\ Hartmann in M.S.O.S. 
XV'‘, 176 ff). I have not been able to trace the Muwartabun or 

The corps of wusfdn or “ guards ” at the court of the sultan of 
Morocco formed the nucleus of a dfanding army, as di^findt from the 
tribal militia {Masd/ik al-Ahsdr, tr. Demombynes, Index s.v.), 
Demombynes reads, with one MS., Inatiyian in place of Yandtibiin 
{ihid. 210, n, 2). 

Kdhir is a variant of the name Air, given to the sparsely populated 
hilly country lying to the south of In Azawa or Asiu, the well referred 
to below at the point where the routes leading to Twdt and Egypt 
divide. . It is strange that Ibn BattiJta should apparently refer to 
Kiihir as separated from the main ridge by a three days* march. 

Haggar or Hoggar, the Berber (Tuareg) tribes inhabiting the 
central Saharan massif, the ancient Atlas mountains, now called Ahaggar 
after its inhabitants. 

Bvlda lies at the northern end of the Twdt valley at28N., 0.30E 
An account of the diilrift and its hiftory is given by Gautier and 
Chudeau, Missions an Sahara (Paris, 1908), I, 250. According to 
the Arabic geographers, locu^ls were also eaten by tlic inhabitants 
of Marrikush. 



‘Abbadan, 88 
Abii Bak’har, 19 1 
Abuhar (Abohar), 190 
Abyssinia, 109, (no) 

Addliya, 124-127, 354 
Adam’s Peak, 95, 246, 254, 255, 

257-259. 365 

‘Aden, 1 09-1 10 

Afghanistan, 17, (178-180), 


Agathonike, 358 
Ahaggar, 382, 383 
al-Ahwdb, 108, 351 
Air, 382, 383 ; and see Kdhir 
Ajalun, 57, 305, 344 
al-Ajfdr, 80 
Ajddahan, 19 x 
Akhandaqdn, 307 
al-Akhzar, 346 
*Akka (Acre), 58 
‘Aldbiir (Alapur), 223-224, 363 
‘Aliya, 123, 124, 354 
Alexandria, 19, 46-47, 50, 306, 
34 >. ( 3 + 2 ) 

Algeciras, 303, 312, 374 
Algiers, 18, 44, 341 
AlUama. &ee al-Hanima 
Alhambra, 376 
Aligarh, 362 ; and see Koel 
Almaliq, I 7 i» 359 
Amisiya, 132 
Amjari (Amjhera), 192 
Amoy, 369 
‘Ana, 298, 303, 374 
Anatolia, 17, 2r, 25, 49, 123- 
141. 354. 355. 358 

Anbdr, 24, 298, 303, 374 
Andalusia, 9, 18, 19, 33, [303), 

311-316. 374. 376-377 
Andar (Andarib), 178 
Antaliya, 1 24-1 27 
Antioch, 61 

‘Aqabat as-Sawin (or al-Hiji- 
ziya), 72, 346 
al-‘Aqr, 102 
al-Aqra‘, 64 
Aqsara (Akserai), 1 3 1 
Aqshahr, 127, 355 
Arakan, 367 
Arcot, 365 
Armenia, 61, 354 
‘Arils, Widi’l, 79 
Arzanjin, 132 
Arz ar-Rdm, 132 
Arzila, 31 x, 3x6 
Ashmiin, 49 
Asfr, 3 5 X 
Asiu, 383 
Askalon, 57 
Assam, 366 

Assuan (Aswin), 50, 323, 379 
AStrakhin, 151, 165 
Asydt, 53 

Atrabulus. See Tripoli 
Audaghusht, 378 
Ayi Suluq, 134 

Aydhib, 53 - 54 * 60, X07, 123, 
306, 343 
Aydin, 134 
Ayntib, 305 
Aziq (Azov), 144, 146 
Azghanghan, 307, 37$ 



Ba‘albek, 64 

Bihi Saltiiq, 153, 165, 357 
Bacanor, 233 
Badr, 75, 78, 347 
Baghdad, 21, 85, 88, 93, 99-100, 
102, 303 > 316, 347, 349 » 350^ 

Baghlin, 178, 360 
Baghris, 61, 345 
Bahrayn, 1 21- 12 2, 353, 354 
Bakdr (Bukkur), 188, 361 
Baldah, Wadi, 73, 346 
Balikasrf, 135-136 
Balkh, 21, 175 
Ballash, 315, 316 
Bandar ‘Abb^s, 353 
Barcelore, 233 
Barghama, 135 
Barkur, 233 

Basra, 21, 85, 86-87, 119, 303, 
317, 348, 349 
Bassi, 373 

Battdla, 254-255, 260 
Bayina, 215 
Bayram, 230 
Bayrut, 59 
Bay warn Qutlii, 292 
Bazwd, 75> 346 
Belvedere, 64 

Bengal, 8, 23, 240, 243, 246, 
248, 249, 267-271, 272, 366 
Bethlehem, 55 
Beypore, 364 
Beyshahr, 127, 355 
Bijaya, 44, 341 
Bilbays, 54 
Biq^S 344 
Bi’r Malliha, 98 
al-Bira, 316, 376 
Birgi, I 32 -I 34 » 356 
Bish-Baligh, 299, 373 
Bishdagh (Beshtaw), 147, 151, 

Bi^tim, 177, 178, 360 
Bona, 44 

Bomu (Bamtl), 336, 382, 383 

Bosra, 72 
Bougie, 44, 341 
Boyalu, 356 

Brahmaputra- Jun 
Brusa, 136, 356 
Biida, 338, 383 
Budfattan, 234 

Bukhari, 10, 21, 171-172, 339, 


Bulghir, 150, 151, 357 
Biili, 140 
Bulyana, 307, 374 
Burdiir (Buldur), 127 
Burj Bura (Burjpur), 223 
Burlu, 140, 356 
Burma, 367 

Caffa (Kafa), 142, 356 
Cagliari, (307), 374 
Cairo, 50-52, 54, 57, 58, 69, 
123, 306, 342 

Cilicdt, 46, no, 234, 235-238, 
239, 240, 241, 266, 302, 364 
Cambay, iro, 228-229, 363 
Candelor, 354 
Cannanore, 234 
Canton. See Sin-Kalin 
Cathay, 52, 202, 277, 284, 297- 
301, 369 

Ceuta, 292, 3 1 1, 316 
Ceylon, 8, 95-96, 231, 234, 241, 
246, 254-260, 365 
Chandfrf, 226 
Charkh (Charikar), 1 79 
Chilaw, 256 

China, 7, 8, 13-14, 97, 115, 131, 
169, 170, 171, 214, 234, 235, 
230, 238, 239? 242, 243^ 

246, z68, 269-270, 276, 277, 
279, 281, 282-301, 358, 368- 

China Sea, 97, 235, (276-281), 
(301-302), 367-368 
Chittagong. See Sudkdwin 
Colombo, 260, 365 
Conilantine, 44 

(geographical names 

f.Mvip't;, 13, 26, 38, 

M:, 149, j;i, 154, 

I s^>e 64, 

Cor<Jip o\-lc! Sc*i M I'lw 
Cr nic.;, 14:- 14^, 

Dalj^’iitan, 234 
Diiinanliiir, 47 

Dainascus, i^, 25, 59, 6o, 64, 
65-72, 92, 177, 2S2, 2qi, 
304-305, 33c;, 345-346, 349, 


Damietia, 49, 50, 306 
Darubo, 358 
Bird, 104, 350 
Dar'a, 317 

Dard Zuhayday 347-348 
Ddr Fur, 382 
Ddr at-Tama‘, 339 
Davas, 129 

Dawlat Abdd, 84, 184, 204, 208, 
2U, 227-228, 362, 363 
Daybul (Debal), 361 
Dayr al-Fdriis, 63 
Dayrat-Tin, 52 
Dead Sea, 55 

Deccan, 23, (227-228), 362, 363 
Delhi, 6, 8, 10, 21, 22, 23, 25, 
103, 183, 188, 193, TQ4-205, 
207, 210-212, 225-226, 244, 
262, 292, 302, 362, 363 
Deni?:li, 128 

Deogiri (Duwayglr), 227, 362, 


Dhafdri (Dhofar), 113-114, 302, 

Dhakwdn, 316, 377 
Dhar (Dhihdr), 192, 226, 363 
Dhdt Hajj, 72, 346 
Dholpur, 363 
DhuM-Hulayfa, 75 
Diampoiis, 358 
Dieliba, 380 

Dlnawar (Dondra), 260, 365 
Dioura, 378 

Dnaf Bakr, 102 , ( 103 - 104 ) 
Doiigola, 323 , 379 
ad-Dumb, 233 

! Edfu, 53 , 123 
1 Egerdir, 127 , 128 , 356 
j £gcrdir-Gui, 355 
• Eg}pr, 5 , 16 . T7, 20-2 i, 24 , 

I "45-54'» 50 . 123 , 124 , 125 , 
2 S 2 , ( 300 ), 308 - 309 , 323 . 
3 ?^^ 33S. 370, 375 > 579 

Elvira, 376 
Ephesus, 134 
Erzerum, 132 
Esnd, 53 

Euphrates, 52 , 80 , 81 , 85 , 374 

Fakanur, 233 , 265 
Fdl, 3 S 3 

Fandaraynd, 234 , 237 
Fanika, 155 , 358 
Fariskur, 49 

Fuis, 21, 78 , 87 , (92-97), 119, 
120-IZI, 146, 187 , 233, 234, 

235 » (303). 353 
Fasa, 373 
Fath Abad, 172 

Fdltan, 262, 263-264, 265, 365- 

Fawwd, 47 
Fayd, 80, 347, 348 
Feodosia. ^ee Kafd 
Fez, 9, II, 19, 308, 317, 339 
Fezzan, 382 
Firtizdn, 91 

“ Fortress of Maslama,” 1 54» 35 8 
France, 135, 160 
Fuchow, 369, 371 
Fiija (Fuggia), i 35 > 35 ^ 

Galata, 160 
Galilee, Sea of, 58 
Gandhar. See Qandahdr 
Ganges, 52, 184, 193, 212, 

Garadi Biilf, 140 


Cawgaw (Kawkaw), 

33i» 334> 381-38 
Gawr, 366 
Gaza, 55, 123, 305, 306 
Genoa (Genoese), i ^, 25, 123, 

*35> i44> 35^J 

Ghad'tlmas, 334 
Ghalafiqa, 351 
Ghina, 378, 380 
Gharnata (Granada), 3 1 5-3 1 6, 

3337 37 ^ 

GUt, 338 

Ghazna, 179-180, 185, 360 
Gheiva, 137 

Gibraltar, 311-313. 3 1 6, 37+ 
Goa. See Sandabur 
Gobir, 382 

Gog and Magog, Rampart of, 
290, 370 
Gogo, 230 

Granada. See Gharnata 
Gumush Khinah, 132 
Gwalior, 224 

Habanq, 271, 366 
Haditlia, 303 
Ha jar, 122, 353 
al-H^jir, 79, 347 
Hajj Tarkhan, 151, 165 
Hali, 107, 351 
Hamdh, 61, 305 
al-Hamma, 315, 316, 376 
Hang-chow. See IChansa 
Hinsi, 193 
Harba, 102 

Harkdtu, 262, 365, 366 
al-Hasa, 122, 3? 3-31:4 
H 4 sik, 1 15 
Hawiza, 349 

Hebron, 55, 123, 305, 344 
Merit, 175-176, 359 
Hijiz, 21, 45, 52, (74-75). 77 . 
(105), (106) 

al-Hijr, 73, 74, 346, 347 
Hlli, 234, 364 

Hilla, 39, 98-99, 303 
Hims, 60, 305 

Hinawr, 230-231, 239-240, 265 
Hindukusii Mts., 178-179 
Hisn al-Akrad, 60 
Hit, 303, 374 
Hormuz, 118, 202, 303 
Hormuz, New, 118, *201, :;§2, 

Humaythira, 53 
Hunj (Hunju), 353 
Huwayza, 97, 349 
Huzii, 353 

Idhaj, 89, 348 
al-‘Idliar, 85 
Ifriqiya, i8 
Ikhmim, 53 
In Azawa, 383 

India, 6, ‘7, 17, 22-24, 48, 
S3“85, 87, 109, no, 1 13, 
114, 115, 118, 119, 123, 131, 
235, 242, 243, 262, 283, 287, 
288, 289, 301, 302, 316, 

Indian Ocean, 4, 1 7 
Indus river, 52, 181, 183, 185, 

Triq ‘Ajami, 88, 91 
‘Iriq (‘Arab!), 17, 21, 24, 38, 
48. 54. 62, 81-88, 130, 131- 

T 3°3-304. 348, 349. 374 
Isfahan (Ispahdn), 91, 93, 94., 
282, 303, 351 
Island of Birds, 116 
Isparta, 127 

Jtil (Volga), 52, 151, 165 
Iwilitan (Walata), 318, 319. 
321, 322, 335, 378, 380 

Jabala, 62, 63, 123 
Jahin Panih, 192, 362 
al-Jalilf, 2 r 5, 216, 362 
Jim, 176-177, 360 
Jamkan, 93 
Janinl, 185, 361 



! 43 . 323. 

; see aho 


lanbfl, 224, 363 
Jarawn, 119 
Jarmiydn, 128 
J^wa, 367; and see Sumatra 
Jawjawa, 336, 383 
Jazlrat ibn ‘Omar, 103 
Jedda (Judda), 106, 123, 306 
Jcrba, 1 8, 306-307, 374 
Jerusalem, 55-57, 123, 159, 163, 
305*306, 344 
judi, Mount, 103 
Juhfa, 75, 347 
Jiin river, 52, 267, 366 
Jurfattan, 234 

Kabara, 322, 378 
Kabul, 180, 360 
Kafa (Caffa), 142, 356 
Kahir, 337, 583 
Kajarr.1, 226, 363 
Kalba, 303, 373 
Kalindi river, 223 
Kamaru (Kamarupa), 268, 271, 

Kanauj, 223 
Kancm, 382, 383 
Kannalus, 245-246, 266 
Karak, 64, 72 
Karak Niih, 59 
Karaman, 13 1 
Karbald, 99, 170, 348 
Karmash, 180 
Karsaklua, 322, 378, 381 
Karzf (Karzin), 303, 373 

171, 359 

Kataka, 227 

Kaveripamnam, 365-366 
Kdwd, 229, 363 
Kdwiya, 137 

Kawkaw. Bee Oawgaw. 

Kaivlam (Quilon), 46, no, 231, 
234* 238-239, 265, 283, 302, 

Kawrdh^tdn, 120, 303, 353, 373 
Kdyal, 366 

Kaylukari, 279, 366, 368 

I Kayniik, 138 
Kdzariin, 97 
Kerch, 142 
Kermian, 128 
Kevmk, 138 
Khajuraho, 363 

Khan-Bdliq, Khdniqii (Peking), 
270, 282, 287, 297, 298-299, 
(301), 368, 369, 373 
Khansa (Hang-chow), 36, 269, 
270, 287, 293-297, 299, 301, 
368, 369, 372, 373 
KhawriiJtan, 353, 373 
Khiva, 356, 359; and see Khwa- 

Khmer, 367 
Khor Musa, 348 
Khulays, 75 * 78 , 347 
Khunjubal, 120, 121, 303, 353 
Khurdsdn, 78, iig, 175-178, 
189, 190, 316, 339, 359, 360 
Khusraw Abad, 188 
Khwdrizm, 167-171. 172, 282, 

Kiev, 356 

Kilwa, 112-113, 379 

Kish island, 353 

Koel, 3, 36,^215, 222, 223 

Konia, 130, 354, 355, 356 

Kordotan, 344, 378 

Krak des Chevaliers, 60 

Kubar, 336, 382 

Kufa, 80, 97-98, 104, 349 

Kugha, 380, 381 

Kuka, 383 

Kumish, 132 

Kunakar (Kornegalle), 256-257, 


Kunja-Kari, 238 
Kunya Urgench, 359 
Kutdhiya, 128 

Ladhiq, 128-129 
Lddhiqiya, 63-64, 123 
Ldhari, 186, 187, 361 
i al-Lajjijn, 72 



Lakn.vvvtf, 267-26S, 271, 300 
Lanj ut’ Darkness, ’* 150-151 
Ldr, 120-121, 303, 353 
Larandfi, 131 

Larr/bunder. Sre Laharf 
Lawza, 80, 348 
Lebanon, 34, 64 
Liirii^^n, 88-01, 303, 34S 

Luxor, 53, 343 

Ma‘dn, 72 
Ma‘arra, 61, 305 
Ma‘bar (Coromandel), 210, 212, 
231, 241, 246, 247, 252, 254, 
355, 261-265, 3^5» 366 
Madma, 43, 55, 74, 78-79, 306, 

Madura, 262, 264, 365 
Maghrib (North-We^ Africa), 
19, 34, 35 > 38, 59 * 283, 
306-310, 338, 341, 370, 375 ; 
see aha Morocco 
Magnesia, 135 

Mahal, 241, 245, 246, 254, 266 
al-Mahdlib, 109 
Mahttili, 1 53 - 154 * 35® 

M 4 jar, 146, 147, 357 
Mdjtll, 88, 89 
Makniy^t, 352 

Malabar (Mulayb^r), 7, 8, 23, 
110,231-339, 247*254, (302), 

Mai (al)-Amir, 89, 348 
Mdlaga, 3 1 3-3 1 5, 316, 376 
Milawa [Malwa), 223, 226 
Maidive Islands, 7, 8, 10, 115, 
231, 241-254, 262, 264-265, 
266, 267, 273, 364, 366 
Mdllf, 243, 318, 320, 321, 322, 
323-331* 334 * 335 * 380-381, 

Manirat al-Quriin, 81, 348 
ManfaWt, 53 

Mangalore (Manjariir), 233-234, 

Maqdashaw, 110-112, 247 

iVLiri iij \^Mirivlla), 313 

Mjif:, e ? 

Mar'im, loj., 350 

Mart (Murr aZ'/iibrin), 75, 78, 


Marrakush, 316, 377, 383 
al-Misijid, 80, 3^.8 
Masoi% 503 

Mi'^hlFui (Mesbht-d), 177, 360 
102, 350 
Mashur, Ihindar, 348 
Masina, 381 
Masira, 1 1 6, 352 
Mas‘iid Abad, 193, 194, 362 
Mawri, 223, 363 
Mecca, 5, 12, 28, 43, 48, 55, 
75-78, 105, ro6, 107, 122, 
212, 270, 306, 344, 347, 381 
Merv, 175 

Mikn^sa (Mequinez), 304 
MiUs, 129 
Milidna, 43 
Mima, 331, 333, 381 
Minneri-Mandel, 255-256 
Mitija, 44, (341) 

Miuss river, 357 
Mogdishu, iio-irz 
Mombasd, 112 
Moramari, 361 

Morocco, 14, 18, 19, 245, 303, 
304, (308-3 1 r), (316-317), 

(339)* 375 * 376 
Moslaganem, 307 
Mosul, 102, 103, 104 
Mudurlu, 138, 139 
Mughi^ldin, n8 
Mughla, 129 
Mdli, 323, 379 
Mul-Jdwa, 276-278, 367 
Multdn, 145, 183, 184, 188-190 
Mulilk, 253, 254 
Munyatibn Khasib, 53 
Mutra, 262, 264 
Muturnf, 138, 139 
M'zab, 378 



Naheul, 37+ 

Ndhulus, 57 
Nadruma, 307 
Najaf, 81-83, 303 
Najd, 79-80, 354 
Nakda, 1 31 
Nakhshab, 172 
Nandurbar, 228 
an-Naqira, 79, 347 
NarwaT, 3S3 ; see also Parwin 
Nasibin, 103-104 
Naysdbir CNlshdpir), 175. I77 

Nazwa, 1 18, 332 
Negapaiam, 365 
Negrolands, 9, 300, 318-334 
Niamey, 379 
Nicica, 136, 356 
Nigda, 131 

Niger river (“Nile”), 322-323: 
331. 333. 334. 343. 378. 

Nile River, 49-50, 52. 3*3. 343. 

Nubia, 21, 323, 379 
Nupc, 379 
Nyani, 380 

‘Orndn, 11S-J18, 146, 303, 352, 


Onore. &tt Hmawr. 

Ormuz. Bee Hormuz 
‘Othmaniya, 294 
Oude, 212 
Oushar, 355 
Oxus river, 168, 175 

Pagra (Baghrds), 61, 345 
Pakpattan, 191 
Pilam, 194 
Palmyra, 304 
Panderani, 234 
PanjsWr, i79 

Parwdn (Afghaniftan), 179 
Parwin (? Narvrar), 224, 226, 

Peking, 8 ; see also Khin-Bfliq 

?erim island, 363 

Persia, 17, 2t‘ 24., 38, 349 

Phocaca. See Fiija 

Pigeon island, 366 

Point Je Galle, 260 

Puttelam (Battik), 254-255, 260 

Qabis (Gabes), 45, 307 
al-Qadisiya, 81, 348 
j Qalhat, ii6-tt8, 303, 352 


Qiliqut. See Calicut 
Qamdra, 276, 367 
Qandahar (Afghaniftan), 180 
Qandah'lr (Gandhar), 229, 363 
Qan-jan-fii, 291-292, 301, 317, 


Qiqula, 276, 367 
Qaribilgh, 93, 349 
Qardjil (Himalayas), 214 
Qardqorum, 299, 300, 373 
Qarshi, 172 

al-{2^rdra, 79, 347 
Qaftamdni, 139, 140-141 
Qathff, 1 21, 122 
Qatyi. 54 
Qayrawin, 341 
Qays island, 121, 353 
Qaysdriya, 131 

Qini. 53 

Qipchaq desert, 142, 153. 

(165), (167) 

Qiram, 141. 143. 35° 

Qudayd, 347 
Qdhiftdn, 175 
Quilon. See Kawlam 
Quioquia, 380 
QulHisdr, 128, 355 
Qundfis (Qunddz), 178, 360 
Qiniya, 130, 316; see also 
Qdqa, 230 
(Jurayyit, 303, 373 
Quri Mansi, 332 333, 381 

Q&h 53. 54 
Qusayr, 12 



Rabitz 316, 320 

R£bigh, 75 

Rahba, 304, 374 

R£miz (Rdm-hurmuz), 89 

ar-Ramla, 57, 123 

Ra’s Dawd’ir (? Raweiya), 107, 

Rawi river, 361 

Red Sea, 106-107, 123 

Rome, Romans, 135, 160 

Ronda, 313, 316 

Roussillon, 25 

Rukn Abdd, 92, 96, 348 

Sabta. See Ceuta 
S^ghar, 227, 228 
SaH (Sallee), 316, 320 
SaHwit (Chilaw), 256 
as-S^lihiya, 54 
Samanndd, 49 

Samarqand, 21, 174, 316, 339, 

Simarrd, 102, 350 
Samhal (? Sambhal), 214, 362 
Samira, 79, 347 
San% 108, 109, 351 
Sandabiir, 230, 231, 239-240, 

241. 3<53-364 

Sansara river, 323, 380 
San6b, 141 

Saqarl (Sangarius) river, 137 
Sar^ (Sar^y), 143, 165-166, 167, 


SarichtSk (Saraijik), 167, 359 
Sarandib, 365; and see Adam’s 
Peak, Ceylon 
Sarasatl (Sarsuti), 193 
Sardinia, 307, (375) 

Sarhd, 273, 367 
Sarja, 107, 351 
Sarmln, 61, 305 
Sard (Hoang-ho) river, 52 
Satalia, 354 

Satgaon (Satganw), 366 
as- 5 aw£lul, 112, 352 
Saw^kin, 107 

Saydd (Sidon), 58 
Sehwan (Sfwasitdn), 185-186 
Senegal river, 379 
Sfax,4S,307, 354 
Shabba, 303, 373 
ash-Shdliydt, 240, 364 
ash-Shdm (Tabriz), 101 
Sharja, 351 

Shashnaghdr, 180, 360 
Shirdz, 92, 93, 94-95, 96 ' 97 > 

202, 303, 349> 359 » 373 
Shushtar, 89, 303 
Siberia, 357 

Sicily, 19, 374 

Sidon. See Saydd 

Sijilmdsa, 14, 19, 288, 317, 319, 

338, 339 » 369. (377) 

Siji^idn (Seiilan), 176 

Sind, 22, 119, 145, 183-190, 

203, 212, 328, 3S0, 361 
Sinjir, 104, 350 

Sin-Kaldn, Sin as-Sin (Canton), 
235, 2B2, 287, 288-290, 368, 

Sinope, 14 1 
Sirdf, I2I-122, 353 
Siri, 23, 194, 362 
Sis, 61 

Siwds, 1 31-132 
Smyrna, 25, 134, 356 
Soldaia. See Sdddq 
Solghat, 356 
Sosso, 380 

Spain, 146, 312; and see 

Stambdl, 160 
Staiy-Krim, 356 
Suakin, 107 

Sdddq (Surddq), 46, 152-153, 

Sudkdwdn, 267, 268, 366 
Sufdla, 112, 379 
Suhayl, 313, 314, 376 
as-Sukhna, 304, 374 
Sulaymdn Mts., 180, 360 
Sultdnfya, 2 1 


Sumatra, 8, 234, 240, 271, 272, 
273-276, 3^^ 302, 367 
Sunurkiwin, 271, 272, 366 
Siir (‘Om^n), Ji6, 352 
S6r (Tyre), 58 
Siiisa, 4; 

Sylhet, 366 

Syria, x6, 25, 33, 39, 49, 54, 
(55-72), 123, 304-305, 308, 


Tabarlya (Tiberias), 58-59 
Tabriz, ai, 101-102, 316, 349- 


Tabdl, 73 
T^ala, 335 
Tadmur, 304 

Tagaddd, 334, 335-337, 382 
Taghdza, 317-318, 377 

Ta'izz, io8-iog, 351 
Tdj Biira, 222 
Takrlt, 102 
Takrflr, 378, 379 
Tamegroun, 382 
Tangier, 2, 9, ao, 43, 304, 307, 

Tarakli, 137 
Tarlfa, 19, 303, 374 
Tdma, 187, 301 
Tdsarahld, 318, 377 
“Tawilisl, Land of,” 279-281, 
301, 368 
Tawds, 129 
Tawdt, 337, 338, 383 
Ti£z4, 3 ^^ 

Tcgidda* Bee Tagaddd 
Tencs, 307 
ath-Thanfya, 72 
Thrace, 357, 358 
Tibet, 368 
Tilbat, 206,215 
Tiling (Telingana), 227 
Timbuktu, 323, 33i» 333» 3^* 
Tlra, I34> 37^ 

Tirmidh, 168, I74-*7S» 

Tfzin, 61, 345 

Tlemsen, 18, 19, 43, 307, 341, 

Transcaucasia, 146 
Transoxania (Turkestan), 21, 22, 
60, 300 

Trebizond, 354 
Tripoli (African), 18, 21, 45 
Tripoli (Syrian), 60, 63, 123, 

Ts’wan-chow-fu. See Zaytiln 
Tughlaq Abdd, 194 
Tunis, 18, 19, 44, 45, 307, 341, 

Turbat-i Haydari (Z^wa), 177, 

Ture-ssangha, 378 
Turki^ldn, 148, 171, 359; see 
also Transoxania 
T6s, 177, 360 
Tu^ar, 89, 303 
Twat. Bee Tawdt 
Tyre. See S6r 

al-‘Ubbdd, 307, 374 
UbuUa, 87, 348 
Uch (Aja), 188 
‘Udayna, 109 
al-^Udhayb, 81 
Ujjain, 227 

Ukak (Locaq), 152, 357 
al-Ukhaydir, 73» 34^ 
al-‘UIi (al-‘EM), 73. 74. 346. 

Umm Junayba, 339 
Umm ‘Ubayda, 86, 348 
Ural river, 167 
aPUsayla, 79, 347 
‘Usfin, 75. 347 
Ushturk^n, 91 

Velez, 315 
Volga. See Itil 

Wabkana(Wafkend), 171 
Wadai, 382, 383 


vVaUfd, Ivvaldtan 
Waqisi, 8c, ^.|.8 
VViiic, 3 f> 

Xeail rjver, 315 

Yaiiuliua, £22, (354) 

Yanija, 137 
Vaicnga, 381 
Yd2dikhv\a4l, 92 
Yazmfr, 134 
Yaznik, 136 

Yenicn, 48, 106, 107-110, 113, 
115, £23, 146, 185,233,234, 
^ 3 S > H2» 243» 265, 289, 343, 
^ 346 , 3^1 
Yiifi, 112, 323, 379 

az-Zabdani, 64 
Zabi'd, 108, 351 

Zagha, 322-323, 378, 381, 

Zdgharf, 322, 333, 378 
Zaghdwa, 382 
Zaghdy, 336, 382 
Zanzibar, 378 
Zariid, 80 
Zdvva, 177, 36U 
Zayddn, 97, 349 
Zayla* (Zeila), no 
Zaytiin (Ts’wan-chow-fu), 8, 46, 
^ 3 Sf 2S9> 282, 287-288, 

29o> 368, 369, 370, 

37 1 

Ziza, 72 




*A8iiA-;»n Caliphs, 66, ^ 

' i 

Abruhaui, 27, j 

Abysbinians, 224, 229, 230, 260 j 
Adam, 27 , 82, 2^^, 2c;8-259 ! 

Atalun.s i^'tr * 

Aijaruc, 368 j 

‘Ala ad-Di'n 2 2-2 3 j 

‘Alawis, 39 ; a;:J see Shi‘ites ] 
\\\U 38, 39, 40, 62, 81-82, ; 

97» 130, 343, 34;;, (34S), 339, i 

3*;? I 

Almohads, 18 1 

Almoravids, 18, 375, 377, 380 1 
Altarash, 22 | 

Arab nomads (Badawin), 18, 20, | 

44 > 45 > S 3 > 54 ’ 75 » 79 * j 
97, 109. 120, 307, 341 I 

Armenians, 132 : 

Assassins.** See Isma‘ 51 ites 

Barahnak^r, 272-273, 367 
Bardilma, 33^, 382 
Ibn BattQta, 2-10 

‘‘ Travels of,” composition 
and veracity of, 10-14, 

"iVavels m Afghanistan, 178- 

Anatolia, U3-141 
Andalusia, 3x1-316 
Arabia, 72-80, to 3* 
106, 107-U0, 113- 
118. 122, 302-303, 

Ibn Travels in Bernal, 


Central Asia, 167-175 
Ceylon, 254-260 
China and Cathay, 269- 
270, 282-301 
Coromandel, 261-265 
Ea.^ Africa, 107, 110- 

Indies, 272-281, 


F,gypt,45-5+, 123, 306 
Ivhurasiin, 175-178 
India, 190-229 
•Iraq, 81-88, 97-102, 
104, 303-304 
Maghrib, 43-45, 306- 
308, 311, 316-317, 

Malabar, 229*241, 302 
Maidive Islands, 241- 
254, 266 

Mesopotamia, 103-104 
Negrolands, 317-337 
Persia, 89-97, 118-121, 


Sind, 183-190 
South Russia, 142-153, 

Syria, 55-72, 123,304- 


Thrace and Conitein- 
tinople, 153-164 
Baybars, 2C, 60, 6r, 62 
Bejas, 53-54, 107, 123, 343 

• Names cmpounded mih Ahi and Ibn are indexed under the Utter 
ff the fo/Umng mrd : e.g., Ibn Battuta mil be found under B, 



Berbers, a, i8, 20, 335-338, 375, 
377» 38 i> 3^2, 383 ; see also 

“Black Death,” 8, 24, 25, (68- 
69K (305-306), 374 
Buddhists, 96, 365 
Burhdn ad-Din of Sdgharj, 47, 
202, 269, 270, 298, 301 

Catalans, 25, 307, 374 
Chingiz-Khin (Tinkiz),i72, 175, 
179, 283, 299, 359 
Christians, 15, 16, x8, 19, 25-26, 
S 5 » 57. 61, 63, 65, 69, 74, 
123, 124-125, 132, 134-135. 
142, 152, 160, 166, 245, 293, 

303. 304. 307. 3”. 312. 313. 

345 . 354 . 35S, 374 . 379 5 
also Corsairs, Crusaders, Greeks 
Circassians, 146, 166 
Corsairs, 9, 26, 134-135. 307. 

^ 341. 374 . 375 

Crusades, Crusaders (Franks), 15, 
16, X7, 33.49. 56, 58, 60, 64, 
342, 344, 345, 356 

Darwfshes. Bee Stiffs 
Dilsh^d the Indian, 48, 221-222 
Druse, 39 

Faqirs. Bee Stifis 
Fe^ival prayers, 28, 45, 341 
Franks. Bee Crusaders 
Tutiizoa^ 1 2 5-1 27, 128-129, 130, 
137. 140, 354-355 

Abd Ghurra, 83-85 
Golden Horde, 17, 356, 357, 
3^5 8 ; and see Muhammad 

Greeks, 125, 128, 134, 135, 138, 
141, 149, 152, 153-164, 166, 
235. 285, 345, 354, 357,358 

Hafsid dynasty, 18-19, ( 4 S). 34 ^ 
Haggar, 33 383 


Hasan, Shaykh (JaM’ir), 100, 
303. 374 

Abu’l-Hasan (Marfnid), 9, 19, 
311, 31Z, 316, 324, 327 
Husayn, 35, 52, 99, 343, 348 

Ibrahim ibn Adham, 62, 345 
tltutmish, 22 

Abii ‘Inin, 9, 19, 2c, 41, 306, 
308, 311, 312, (317), (337), 
(339). 375 

Abii Ishi'i Inju, 94, 202, 349 
Islim, Dogmas and Ceremonies 
of, 27-29, 357, 370 
Islamic Law, 25, 29, 169, 346, 
352, 360 

Isma‘ilites, 61-62, (345) 

Jaghatiy-Khins, 17, 21, 22, 359, 
3 60 ; and see Tarmashirin 
Jalil ad-Din ar-Rumf, 1 30-1 31, 

Jesus, 27, 55, 57, 161, 358 
Jews, 69, 125, 146, 158, 238, 


Jikid, 32-33, (112), 134, 135, 
136, (239-240), (263), 274, 
(302), 3 1 1-3 1 2 
Jinn, 28, 55, 319, 343-344 
Joseph, 59, 344 

Ibn Jubayr, ii, 12, 65, 345, 346, 
347 » 355 

Ibn Juzayy, 2, xi, 14, 41, 31 1, 
327, 339 

Kebek Kh 4 n, 60 
Ibn Khalddn, ii, 374 
Kurds, 89, 98, 104 

Limis, II 2, 323, 379 
St. Louis, 18 
Luwdta, 2 

Majdad-Dfn, Shaykh, 92-93, 202 
Mamldk dynaily, 20-21, 22, 24 
Mandingoes (Malinke), 322, 327, 
378, 380-381 



Marathas, 227, 228 
Marfnid dyna^y, 18, 19, 306; 

and see AbuU-Hasan, Abti ‘Inin 
Massfifa, 233, 317, 319, 320, 
322. 333. 377. 382 
Mas‘iid Kh^n, 203-204 
Mongols (Tatars), 16, 17, 20, 

21, 22, 24, 93, loo-ioi, 172, 
>74. >78, 179. 283, 348, 349, 
356, 357. 359. 360, 369, 372, 


Moses, 27, 68 

Muhammad the Prophet, 27, 29, 

38, 40. 53. 56, 73. 302, 343, 

344. 345 

Mtihammad Khuddbanda. See 

Muhammad ibn Tughlaq, 6, 7, 
17.23. 32.83-85,94-95, 145, 
.176, 183-185, 187, 188, 189, 
190. 193-21 5, 223, 226, 229, 
230, 239, 251, 252, 267, 268, 
275. 276, 292, 359, 362, 363, 


Muhammad tTzbeg Khin, 142, 
143, 144, 148-152, 165, 168, 


al-Murshidf, 47-48, 222 
Mdsd (Malinke sultan), 329, 332, 
380, 381 

an-Nisir (Caliph), 355 
an-Ndsir, al-Malik (Sultan), 20, 
24.46,64,72, 122, 323 
Neapolitans, 19 
Noah, 27, 82, 103, 344 
Normans, 25 
Ndr ad-Din, 59, 60 
Nusayris, 39, 62-63 

Orkhdn Bek, 1 36, 1 38 
Ossetes, 166 

Ottoman Turks, r6, 17, 136-138, 


Pilgrimage, 3, 4, 5, >2, 29, 69, 
72-75, 78, 104-105, 122, 347 


Pirates, Indian, 10, 230, 233, 
239. 242, 254, 265, 276 

Qald’dn, 20, 64,, 342, 344 
Qutb ad-Din Aybak, 22, 195, 

Ramaddn, FaA of, 28, 29 
riidt {zdtoiya, khinqiJi), 33, 51 
ar-Rifd‘i, 86, 348 
rukh, 302, 373 
Russians, 152, 166 

as-Sa‘di, 96, 97 

Abii Sa‘id (sultan), 21, 78, 94, 
loo-ioi, 102, 303, 349, 374 
Saladin, 20, 56, 59, 345 
Sdmira (Sammds), 185, 361 
Shi'ites, 35, 38-40, 58, 6 1, 82, 
85. 9>. 93, 98, 99. >22, 124, 
177, 344, 345, 348, 355 
Solomon, 55, 58, 161, 180, 304, 

343, 344, 375 
Songhay, 381, 381-382 
Sifis (darwishes), 33-38, 39, 51, 
85, 86, 95-96, io6, 120-121, 
130. 139. >77. 246-247, 259, 
264, 267, 268, 271, 315, 316, 

345. 348, 354. 357; 


Sulaymdn (Malinke sultan), 323- 

329. 332, 381 

Tarmashirin, 172-174, 209, 359 
Tatars. See Mongols 
Ibn Taymfya, 38, 67-68, 346 
Thamdd, 73'74. 346 
Tfmiir (Tamerlane), 25, 345, 
350. 360, 362, 374 
Tinkiz. See Chingiz-Khdn 
Tughlaq Shdh, 23 
Turks, Turkmens, 16, 21, 22, 
64, 92, loo-ioi, izo, 121, 
123-154, 159, 164-180, 293, 
369, 372; see also Ottoman 


Uljay:u, 21, 93? 349 [ -iba Yi*qiSb Yusuf, ^9-60 

Um£i-V7ad Caliphs, 3S, (6$'), | 225-226, 255, 257,*'259, 

(66), 343, 346 I 26c 

Urduja, 14S, 279-28 s 308 I 

UxWjg-Khdii'. Sec Muhammad • 

Uy^bcg 1 7.anj^i^z 

Ziyanid dyna.^l>, 18, (43), 341 
Venetians, 160 Zulvyda, 79, 347 


fe.1 jjjg 


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